I wound up lingering around the house today in lieu of some planned activities because of unexpected car troubles.
Instead I did some chores around the house.
Mainly blowing through this mountain of laundry I’ve avoided for too long.
While doing so I had to confront that age-old question of what you do when something you’ve worn for a long time is pretty much beyond repair.
That white shirt I featured up above has been one of my pajama shirts since 2014.
I can tell you that specifically because it was a promotional gift I got at a baseball game in San Diego with a bunch of my old High Tide coworkers.
The game (and I couldn’t say what game it was because I was terrible about using Facebook — he said as though he’s any better now) was played up as an event to coincide with the Journalism Education Association conference happening that week.
We were in the city for that conference’s write-off competition, where I happened to win this award that’s still hanging up in my room:
Somehow that shirt continued to be huge on me for the next five years, but it has served me well in the realm of Dream Land.
Until about two weeks ago.
A small hole in the seam just underneath the shirt’s armpit tore far wider than I could have anticipated. Not just along the seam, but inward toward my sternum. My family leveed some complaints but I mostly dissuaded them under the conviction that it shouldn’t matter for something I’m just sleeping in.
Now that I’ve had time to mull it over, however… The shirt is not the most flattering thing in its current condition. Pulling it out of that pile of clothes really hit home.
So that means it’s about time I got rid of it.
By all accounts it’s just a shirt, and the objective part of me has no problem tossing it aside.
Yet I think it’s worth taking a moment to archive the story behind the shirt. Because it may just be sewn-up pieces of fabric, but it’s sewn-up pieces of fabric with a backstory that I recall with a certain amount of fondness and nostalgia.
If you can really consider five years a truly ‘nostalgic’ period.
Hopefully writing up this little account can give all of you at home the chance to reflect on some fond memories toward your possessions as well. Because if you ask me, it’s important to remember that it isn’t really the goods that make us happy.
It’s the tales behind them that do.
So if you have any good memories you want to keep alive about innocuous goods, let me know. I think it’d be a fun little conversation to start.
We started to go through some of the stuff my Grandma Rhea had in her room at the assisted living home today.
I know that’s a very morbid way to start one of these, so just trust me when I say I have a not quite as morbid reason for talking it over.
Yesterday I said I probably wouldn’t touch the subject for a while, so the fact that I feel good doing this should say something in itself.
None of us seemed to realize just how many old knickknacks and photos of different family members she had hidden away until we began looking through her bedside table drawers.
For instance, this beautiful little stand stood out to me.
I’m not entirely sure where it is from or what the 30 is supposed to mean, but the ornate leaf pattern is just great.
We also came across a collection of business cards she apparently ordered for herself:
It was a genuine surprise to all of us that she had these hiding away, as none of us were ever given any of them.
However, it’s a testament to how much she cared about the little knitting business she was trying to start for herself in her twilight years that she went out of her way to get cards made. There were a few half-finished pieces hiding around the room as well.
I’m probably going to carry one of these cards around, or at least store it in my room somewhere.
But then of course we get to the fun stuff: The photos.
I would say the Featured Image I used is my favorite. From left to right, it’s my Grandma, Dad, Aunt Mindy and Grandpa together at Mindy’s graduation from Kingsborough Community College.
In a similar vein, there’s another photo of the three minus my Dad, this time featuring Rhea’s sister Toby who passed away a few months ago.
There were also a couple of grandkid pictures she kept, mostly school picture day kind of set-up shots for me, my sister and my two cousins.
Arguably the most interesting things we dug up, however, were these:
I can’t confess to knowing what these are called, and if you know I would really appreciate some insight. Though in general they kind of remind me of ViewMasters.
On the other side of the larger, capped end are tiny little photos. That cap is slightly translucent and you can hold it up to the light while looking through the smaller end as though it were a small kaleidoscope.
Time has been kind to these, as in 2019 we have magical pocket-sized devices with small, yet fantastic cameras that I figured could easily simulate looking inside.
So I have the photos within to show you in as similar to an authentic means as possible.
First there’s this photo of my grandparents together when they were younger.
Then there’s this photo of my Dad with his parents later:
Knowing that Grandma has all of these hiding away actually made me feel a whole lot better about this entire unexpected, difficult ordeal. It’s a good reminder of just how much she cared about us that she held onto all of this for… Well who knows how many years.
The feeling is bittersweet, but more positive than upsetting overall.
It helped that my Aunt Mindy and Cousin Erica were down here today along with us.
Because if nothing else, them being here meant we also had dogs.
I know it’s a cliché to argue exactly what I’m saying in the title here, but don’t worry. I’m not actually planning on going on a long tirade against QTEs in video games.
This is just another case of ‘I spent all day hanging out with my friends and didn’t take the chance to write anything so I need some space filler.’
Welcome to space filler.
The reason I bring up quick time events in the first place is because most of our time today was spent playing a little known title called Detroit: Become Human. That’s right, the narrative-driven title brought to the world by Quantic Dream and the ever-controversial developer David Cage.
It’s a game that’s interesting… But pretty heavily flawed. In some key places.
We’ve been playing the game over the last few hangouts we’ve had while Jonathan was off in Canada on an extended road trip vacation, and it’s given me the chance to absorb some of what I feel are the big problems with my experience of the game — outside of issues with the studio and some of the ways women are treated that have been played to death in media.
No, my main problems with the experience of playing Detroit: Become Human involve certain gameplay elements. Beyond just the way it awakened a previously unknown pet peeve of being back-seat gamed when messing up a quick time event because I’m not used to Playstation controls and stuff is too sensitive and gettING YELLED AT ABOUT SCREWING THE GAME OVER UP DESPITE THE FACT THAT LATER IT’S REVEALED EVERYTHING WORKED OUT OKAY BECAUSE I’M A GOOD ROBOT JESUS JUAN AND TIANA CHILL OUT.
Sorry about that. Just lost the last few seconds of my life, but I think I’m okay now.
But yes, besides issues with quick time events, it also annoyed me how much the game relies on using invisible walls and choices that inevitably seem to make no difference in the narrative necessarily.
For example, in one scene a character can lose their memory if the player doesn’t respond to a series of events fast enough. In the branching paths of the story’s narrative there is apparently a pathway that can be ventured down where the character legitimately loses their memories forever and becomes a mindless android servant.
But that isn’t a result of actually losing their memory the first time.
No, if the character loses their memory, that isn’t the end of the scene. Screwing up didn’t just kill the run, it instead let the character walk out and find ways to regain their memories.
I suppose the argument could be made that having these kinds of levels of choices to be made is an example of having a successfully branching narrative.
But there’s a narrative dissonance when the character you’ve been playing loses all sense of themselves… But that doesn’t inherently affect the player’s abilities to control their actions. All it really does is add a few extra steps for the player to advance into the next scene rather than going straight there because nothing about the experience of playing changes.
I don’t know, maybe I’m just not a fan of the style of games presented by Quantic Dream, but elements like that bugged me. It felt somewhat manipulative, attempting to throw the player in a certain story direction under the guise of giving them multiple different choices.
I won’t go on too much about the issue, since it isn’t necessarily something I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about. It just seems like an interesting topic to broach and potentially get the internet’s opinion on by throwing it out into the aether here.
Besides we had a lot of fun playing it together even when I was getting yelled at for nothING. It probably isn’t the kind of game I would play on my own, but with friends it’s an interesting concept to experience.
Unlike a different game we spent some time playing, Enter the Gungeon. That’s the kind of rogue-like I’m legitimately considered getting for the Switch.
I haven’t been feeling so hot today, so most of my morning and afternoon has been spent sleeping.
However, the part of my day that hasn’t been spent sleeping (or writing this, to be fair) has been spent taking a little trip down memory lane. After getting my friend addicted to Duel Links – you’re welcome by the way, Sam – she dug up some of her old physical Yu-Gi-Oh! cards.
So I did the same thing:
Turns out these things weren’t quite as deeply buried in my closet as I thought they were. Though clearly I was not all that organized when I played Yu-Gi-Oh! some time ago, as I left the cards in my box in utter disarray.
Obviously that meant it was time to spend the next hour or so looking through what cards I have and organizing them for potential future use.
The first step I took when approaching the problem of sorting such a large, disorganized collection was splitting them into cards I recognize from my time playing Duel Links vs. cards that were completely new to my current understanding of the game.
Piles of cards from Duel Links (left) vs. Cards not in Duel Links (right)
This first step was eye-opening in a number of ways. For one thing, it helped to show me just how many cards I own – which is way more than I expected honestly. I know I was really into the cards at one point, but I didn’t realize I spent this much money buying packs and such.
Going through each and every one of the cards I own also gave me a bit of a deeper appreciation both for Duel Links and for the time I spent playing the game as a kid.
When I was younger, I collected Yu-Gi-Oh! cards but honestly never had any idea how to play the game. Outside of watching the original anime series or playing what I remember to be a dumb Yu-Gi-Oh!-based game for the Gamecube, I never spent too much extra time actually learning the rules for how everything works in the card game.
In fact, I distinctly remember having a Yu-Gi-Oh!-themed birthday party one year in elementary school where my friend Chris Beattie brought over some instructional video so my group at the time could watch it, learn the game and actually play with our cards the proper way.
We never did, since I also remember the rest of us rejecting the idea in place of playing more of that dumb Gamecube game. Part of me wonders if I would have stuck with the game more consistently if we had learned way back then, but I suppose that delves into endless Butterfly Effect territory that I’m not really here to analyze.
Now that I do understand how the game works, I honestly appreciate the sheer complexity of how everything works so much more. There are plenty of cards in my left-hand piles that I actually use on a daily basis in Duel Links, so knowing that I had them way back when I didn’t even understand the rules is kind of mind-boggling.
On top of that, the size of my collection on the right-hand side, all the cards that aren’t currently in the mobile game, blows my mind just in that there’s so much more potential for the game to grow. I’m sure I don’t even have a decent percentile of all the cards that have ever been put into production, and in a way that makes me excited to see more cards added to the mobile game so I can learn how they all interact and create cool decks.
Once I finished separating my cards once, I decided to do it a second time into six different categories: Normal Monsters, Effect Monsters, Ritual Monsters (and Ritual Spells), Fusion Monsters, Spell Cards and Trap Cards.
Oh, and I also separated out the instructional manuals and play mats:
I could have been way more specific and deep with my divisions, splitting up the monster cards by type and attribute or splitting up the spell cards by type, for example. But I’m still pretty tired, so I decided not to go quite that deep. Maybe I’ll take things a step forward in the future.
So for now, I’ve left things at this:
Major categories with brand new dividing cards. Far more pleasing to the eye and easy to identify than what I had originally. Originally, the best I could comprehend was that Sanga of the Thunder was sitting on top of everything else on the right side.
Real helpful, past me.
Speaking of Sanga of the Thunder, one thing I found while sorting through my cards was that I seemed to be ready to play the Paradox Brothers-themed deck well before I knew that was a themed deck to play.
The only thing I’m missing is a Gate Guardian card. If I had that, I could probably build a pretty cool deck with these cards and whatever else I have buried away.
This isn’t the only cool set of cards I was able to find in my collection.
Here’s some Red-Eyes and dragon-related cards that I was able to find. Red-Eyes Darkness Dragon was actually one of the first things I saw, and I’d be lying if I said I wouldn’t be willing to shell out money to get copies of it in Duel Links to use for myself. It looks absolutely amazing.
I also wouldn’t complain about having three copies of Stamping Destruction in the game, since it’s a pretty hard to get Ultra Rare card.
But oh well, I’ll get there eventually. In the meantime, check these out:
These three Sphinx cards look wicked and have some crazy effects. These three and the Red-Eyes Darkness Dragon are definitely the cards I’m really hoping these show up in Duel Links so I can use them.
A bunch of the cards I found have strong sentimental value just from being iconic in the anime. Swords of Revealing Light definitely hit me the hardest, though I can’t deny that the old school art for Dark Magician is seriously wicked.
You could apparently get this old version of Dark Magician in Duel Links if you were playing at a certain point, but I was not playing at the time. So… Oh well. Missed opportunity for me there I suppose.
Also, while we’re on the subject of those cards, I apparently have a wide breadth of cards Yugi Muto used:
I build all sorts of decks with these cards nowadays, so it ties into the idea of knowing I had them way back when and respecting them that much more now.
Another good example of cards I’m using now comes in an actually very relevant form.
When I found A Legendary Ocean in my collection, I couldn’t help but laugh hysterically. The deck I’m showing on the right was actually just built yesterday when I began to grind Mako Tsunami up to lv. 40. The timing of that specific card showing up right after I pulled together something to showcase that card is just too perfect.
Some of the more interesting cards I have are those printed in foreign languages.
I have no idea why I have cards in any languages other than English, since I don’t really speak any languages other than English and a few sentences in Mandarin. It’s strange, as I have way more than the two I’m showing above. Yet, I don’t think it’s necessarily bad. If anything, it makes these cards a little bit more unique.
In other interesting card print differences come these ‘magic’ cards:
I’m so used to just calling these ‘spell’ cards that seeing ‘magic’ instead really caught me off guard. I suppose that’s just what they used to be called or something. Having the cards written like this is probably more valuable as a result, I’d think.
Also speaking of unique, valuable cards, I had a good set of highly coveted prismatic print cards hidden away just ready to be rediscovered.
The title for my favorite prismatic card definitely goes to Nightmare Penguin.
Seriously, just think about it. First things first, its name is Nightmare Penguin. That’s incredible in its own right. The art doesn’t disappoint either, evoking images of Oswald Cobblepot in the best possible way. On top of that the card has a pretty cool ability and nice defense for a four star monster.
So basically I lied earlier when I said I just wanted to see the Red-Eyes monster and the sphinx monsters in Duel Links. I want to see Nightmare Penguin get added too, Konami.
Finally, I also found my prized Egyptian God Cards: Obelisk the Tormentor and Slifer the Sky Dragon.
Or, at least, they were some of my most prized possessions at one point in time. I remember shelling out extra at card shops to get these and having week-long arguments with my Yu-Gi-Oh!-playing friend group over whether or not they were legitimate or not.
I always adamantly argued they were real, of course.
However… Now that I’m older and looking at them next to the rest, I have to admit that they look pretty fake. It’s a shame when considering how much I stood by them growing up, but honestly it’s not all that unexpected.
Oh well, either way I’ll still have the memories with these being wicked cool. They still look pretty rad too, so I’ll be happy to show them off for the sake of those memories at least.
I know this medium of talking about things after the fact with screenshots and some text isn’t necessarily the most dynamic way of experiencing these sorts of things, but I hope you all enjoyed going through these old Yu-Gi-Oh! cards as much as I did! Obviously I didn’t show off all of them, since that would probably take a few years, but the highlights are great either way.
Since I’m so into Duel Links and talk about it here on occasion, I figured these real card memories would be a nice thing to share on here as well.
Even if my rambling might be a little more incoherent than usual since I’m not feeling great.
Just in case it did bug some of you, I’ll leave things off on this note. Some of my favorite ‘funny text’ cards:
Oh I’m sorry, what was that? You say there was a piece of Exodia slipped into that small slideshow somewhere?
A piece of Exodia not chucked into the ocean by Weevil Underwood?
Now that I’m a year into college, I feel I finally have enough of a gap between now and high school to reflect on my experiences there with a bit more substance to my thoughts. Today my friend Tiana and I visited my alma mater, Redondo Union High School, and I got to see a bunch of teachers that I haven’t visited in probably close to a year – more due to constraints on my time rather than interest in going, as I would have loved to visit more often.
Though the visit was admittedly a little repetitive in that I was telling the same stories to each different person over and over when asked how college has been going so far, just the fact that I was asked so often really made me realize something. As a student who really cares about school, both the general experience and the actual learning it entails, I found that I really made a lot of friends among the teachers and administrators at my high school. The journalism facet of my life helped in this too, as I often found more reasons to ask about the diverse interests of those higher-ups, which helped me break a lot of barriers and find out a lot more about people than I would have otherwise.
In retrospect, this decision to try to get closer to my teachers and admins was really one of my best decisions I’ve made. Having friends with those in higher positions of authority not only helped me do my job as a journalist, it also helped me find opportunities and get encouragement in my college-hunting endeavors and more. Plus, now that I’ve graduated, these friendships have blossomed with even more benefits.
Today I sat with my AP Government teacher for close to an hour talking about my year in college, about his year teaching the class I once was a part of (which, by the way, sounded pretty exciting given the state of this year’s presidential election) and trading stories about how our college experiences have related to each other. I talked with my old AP Psychology teacher – who recently mailed me a letter commemorating my first year of her class and out of school I might add – about my experiences and got some pieces of advise I never would have gotten as a student wholly ignorant to the college world. My old art teacher, who still has a story I wrote in the school paper about her pinned on the wall, was very eager to take time out of her third period class to talk with me. My old journalism advisor was extremely impressed and proud to hear that I managed to clinch an editor position on the Daily Titan as a second year student there. I even talked with my Principal, who was actually my Principal throughout middle school and followed my class to high school as well. We talked pretty often due to this long-term proximity and her general eagerness to talk with me whenever I needed an administrative perspective for a news story on the paper. The list goes on and on.
Many of these people shaped my life for a long time, four years at least. If not for them, I likely wouldn’t be where I am today. Their classes made me more well-balanced and prepared for realistically intense workloads, their personalities made me happy to practice my interpersonal skills, and their friendliness helped me feel like I could always do more, always push myself to be better. Even now that I’m objectively totally out of their lives, it’s obvious that I’m definitely not out of their minds when I visit them. The fact that they all cared how my life was progressing on top of being more than eager to get more personal about their own lives and thoughts now that I’m not a student honestly feels wonderful, like I always have other family members to return to in a way.
Teachers are incredibly important. I’ve always felt that way, but really I’ve come to appreciate that fact more than ever recently. Some professors I’ve had in college so far have been amazing, others have made promising classes a really trying experience to endure. They make or break not only individual classes, but interests in various subjects as a whole. If there’s any advice I’d give to anyone who asks in relation to school, I’ll always tell them to connect to their teachers on a stronger level than they usually would with a “one year and done” mentality. They can serve as more than just the cornerstones of learning and as sources of advice or expertise, they can serve as really phenomenal friends too.