Tag: My Life

The Bachelor in Florida

The Bachelor in Florida

Hey.

Been a while, huh?

I’ve been enjoying my “book writing sabbatical” perhaps a little too much. A lot of my novel has gotten done, but there have been plenty of things over the last month I easily could have blogged about.

I was almost completely by myself for three weeks as Mom and Aly went to New York for a summer music program.

During that time I went to the L.A. County Museum of Art for a graduation party.

I bought Mario Maker 2 and made a bajillion levels.

I hosted a full-on sleepover with my friends.

We saw Disney usher the end times by announcing some great looking Marvel movies at San Diego Comic Con, despite my hatred for their entertainment monopoly.

I completely skipped the Three Houses banner in Fire Emblem Heroes.

Dad and I caught up on the latest season of The Flash, I finally saw (and was blown away by) Shazam and I watched Spider-Man: Far From Home for the second time.

Lots of potential content. But as you can tell, I’ve mostly been keeping my day-to-day exploits on social media.

More time to focus on the book and all that.

However, I might return to daily posts for limited time.

This week I’m on vacation in Florida, invited by my grandparents when they came to California for Graduation. I figure that’s worth recording for posterity.

Today wasn’t the most exciting part, however. Hence the long recap.

I flew out of LAX at 9:30 a.m., where I got to sit through that classic California traffic one last time.

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This was actually my first solo experience in the airport. Every other time I’ve gone places there were family members or school-related functions to keep me company.

But it was easygoing, despite oddities like having to walk through a dog pen for the TSA or having my departure gate flip between two locations multiple times.

I decided to be that guy and get a GIF of the takeoff once we boarded. Which turned out nice in my opinion:

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Then about four hours later, after isolating myself from the outside world to write and catch up on podcasts, I landed in Fort Lauderdale.

Though it was technically seven hours because I traveled into the future.

Isn’t technology amazing? I flew nearly 3,000 miles in a fraction of a day.

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That was such a cool realization after we landed.

Though it was immediately followed by the realization that I decided to go somewhere with 90 degree heat and 64 percent humidity at the end of July.

I guess it was worth it considering I got picked up by these two:

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Even if they took me to The Habit for dinner and gave me flashbacks of late deadline nights at The Daily Titan.

After that we came home so I could unpack and watch American Ninja Warrior with them over a cup of tea.

It took a minute to get over the existential panic of finding out I’d be staying in the “adult” bedroom usually reserved for Mom. But then the relaxation kicked in!

Or maybe it was the jet lag…

Either way, that’s all I’ve got from today. Stay tuned for the next leg of my journey tomorrow, whatever it may include.

A family tradition

A family tradition

Many years ago, my Mom helped Alyson and I create a special gift for Dad.

We went to Color Me Mine, a chain of shops for the commercial buying and painting of porcelain goods ranging from dinnerware to sculptures of robots and dragons that are put through a kiln on-site.

In my experience it’s a popular suburban activity for kids with vague creative aspirations and too much energy to burn. The Rochlin family has made its fair share of goods there, which is another subject I may have to circle back to one day.

All those years ago, Aly and I made Dad a mug with our little baby handprints on it.

The gift was very well received and used for years. But… That mug in the Featured Image isn’t the original piece.

That first mug actually broke through a heartbreaking turn of events.

So in 2005, we made him a replacement mug:

The 2005 mug continues to be used and has held together relatively well over nearly 15 years.

But now it’s starting to crack.

That mortality was the subject of a recent joke from Dad which got our gears turning. We figured it would be as good a time as any to continue this family tradition by making him a new handprint mug for Father’s Day.

Here we are last Wednesday getting our hands all dirty.

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Unfortunately the idea was a bit spur of the moment, so the mug wasn’t finished in time for us to hand it off before all the Grandpa Joe and pasta-making stuff happened.

I was able to pivot our time out into a fun little Tweet about Jamba Juice. It was meant to simply cover our tracks, but a few days later grew into something more.

Yeah.

Shout out to that social media person for having a bit of fun with us. I’m usually cynical about that kind of brand interaction, but it’s kind of cool to actually see it happen.

Today we were finally able to pick up the mug — and a little more Jamba Juice, but I didn’t want to push my luck by grasping desperately for further social media clout.

Here are the fruits of our labor:

The end product is perhaps messier overall, but that’s what happens when you decide to color everything instead of leaving a large portion of the body white.

Personally I think the brushstrokes are indicative of the energy we put in.

Even if I’m less enamored with my handprint, because at this point it’s big enough that I struggled to fit the whole thing.

But that said I hope Dad will be happy with the gift.

Because you know. He’s not home from work at the time that I’m writing this. So I don’t actually know how he’s going to react. And I’ll be telling him not to read this until he gets home later.

It’s like you all get to be in on a little secret. Hopefully you enjoyed the brief glimpse at part of my family history!

Father’s Day 2019

Father’s Day 2019

Another year, another celebration.

Today we brought the current peak of the Rochlin’s patriarchal totem pole up to my Aunt’s house in West Hills to ring in Father’s Day with some barbecue and time out by the pool.

Let me tell you, there are few things more magical than having some ribs, taking a dip in the pool and swimming alongside a big, beautiful doggo as Grandpa Joe looks on with a smile.

He really seemed to have a good time. Which is great given how hard it can be to tell how the man is feeling sometime.

It’s hard to feel bad when you’re surrounded by family and dogs out by the pool.

Once we brought Grandpa back home I was able to snag this lovely picture of the three generations of Rochlin men together:

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It took a bit of work to get Grandpa looking at the camera, but I’d say it was worth it. With this being our first Father’s Day after Grandma Rhea’s passing I’ve been thinking about how important it is to chronicle our time with the old man while we still can.

Hence my writing about silly things like our trips to the movies.

But of course Father’s Day isn’t only about my father’s father. Grandpa is only thus because I have a father of my own, and Father’s Day is just as much his — even though a lot of our activities were out and about.

This morning my sister and I went out to get Dad coffee and gave him the one gift that isn’t finished until Wednesday.

He vaguely hints on the off-chance something is written about it later.

Then when we came back home, we spent a few hours making him some pasta and pink sauce:

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Featuring hand-made meatballs and store-bought chicken sausages.

It was delicious, and I’m not just saying that because I made it.

We got his seal of approval. Promise.

So that’s my Father’s Day in a nutshell. Hopefully you had a great one too, or at least made it a good day if you have a more complicated history in that department.

Once more, with feeling: Happy Father’s Day Dad and Grandpa!

A car full of spaghetti

A car full of spaghetti

If I was quiet this weekend it’s because I’ve been immobile outside of family chores, and I didn’t think a second post about running the Burbank Ikea circuit would be very exciting.

The immobility comes from car troubles that have plagued me since early last week and at one point derailed my blog into a discussion on laundry.

I was headed to the gym that fateful day when I heard a pop coming from my engine, followed by what sounded like a rubber band flopping around.

After weeks of screeching sounds coming from the car when it turned on, needless to say I did not wind up going to the gym. I brought the car back home and it has been sitting idle in front of the driveway ever since.

Dad and I looked under the hood and found a completely shredded serpentine belt.

When I say spaghetti in the car, I’m not kidding.

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For those not knowledgable in automobile, that wheel on the left side should have a rubber belt around it. Instead it’s mangled at the bottom.

Mondays are street sweeping days, so the car couldn’t stay idle forever. Thus I called AAA this morning and had it hauled off to our preferred mechanic.

Mom and I drove behind the tow truck on the way there, which gave me the opportunity to photo the damage from a different angle:

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You can see some of the spaghetti dangling from below.

Luckily for my plans later this week, the issue was fixable in a matter of hours. No need to lose my vehicle overnight.

So I spent the afternoon driving around with Mom doing chores. We stopped by my Grandpa’s complex to pay his rent, got a document notarized and delivered, did some shopping and delivered a few held-up items from Friday’s Silent Auction.

By 3:00 p.m. the car was ready.

That’s more or less where the story ends, but before I left the mechanic I got to see a few of the parts that were replaced. The main one was the busted up A/C Compressor that actually had rubber remnants burned into the wheel.

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Pretty incredible.

To some extent I suppose my immobility was a blessing. Earlier today there was an active shooter situation at the Del Amo Mall that’s still being covered as I write this.

I know it’s somewhat cliché at this point (which in itself is a horrible statement on gun control in this country), but it’s hard to imagine that kind of thing happening so close to home.

My family frequents that mall. It hosts our usual movie theatre. It’s where I went to see Detective Pikachu with Aly, and Bumblebee with my friend Juan going back a bit.

This is a bit more visceral than Gable House Bowl was a few months back because I hadn’t been to that bowling alley in years. The Del Amo situation is so visceral that I’m not entirely comfortable with how I feel about it just yet.

So I figure let’s stick with car talk and leave it there.

To any of my local friends who may wind up reading this, I hope you’re safe today.

Tribute to well-worn clothing

Tribute to well-worn clothing

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.

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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:

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Good times.

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.

Gobble gobble, shinobi

Gobble gobble, shinobi

Alright, let’s do this one last time.

I don’t have a long post today, just wanted to slip something in while spending the afternoon with my friends.

Today’s is a relatively small gathering. Me, my buds Juan and Mitchell, plus this surprise guest:

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Squirrel?

Everyone else is either not on Spring Break or has work/family commitments, so we’ll have to bring this wall-crawling rodent into the fold.

Even if they are in a terrible resolution thanks to all of that light glare from a different house.

I just hope that little guy likes shitty movies and video games — pretty much the only things on the menu.

See, first thing we did upon gathering was watch a particularly terrible movie on the vague recommendation of that James A. Janisse I talked all about yesterday.

An $3,500 independent comedy horror film from 2009 called ThanksKilling.

It’s a gloriously fun and terrible movie to watch with friends. However, I can’t recommend it to everyone because it is very raunchy and off-color.

There’s a good few slurs thrown around and some nudity.

But the killer turkey really does steal the show with his fowl-mouthed one-liners. Literally the first line in the movie is him telling a half-naked pilgrim from the 1600s that she has nice breasts.

In a far more graphic way that I’d rather not write in my little personal blog.

If you’re cool with stuff like that and want to just see a hilariously bad low-budget movie, I would recommend it.

Since leaving the engrossing world of ThanksKilling, we’ve transitioned to video games.

First Juan showed us a little bit of his prowess at Devil May Cry 5:

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Don’te might cry?

And then we’ve begun a journey into Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice.

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Captured in bad lighting for… Dark shinobi reasons. Let’s go with that.

The latter game I’ve been interested in checking out since watching Dunkey’s video (which spoils a particularly wicked boss fight). It’s cool to see it from the beginning now that we resolved some technical issues on Juan’s laptop.

I’m not in control for the most part, so I can’t imagine I’ll absorb enough to talk about the game in any extended capacity. Unlike that Shantae review I keep putting off.

All-and-all, this is just a nice break from the internship hours I’ve been racking up over Spring Break, and one of the last times I’ll get to see my friends before summer kicks off.

So with that being said, I’m going to wrap this up and get back to that.

Tomorrow I will return and presumably have something a little more substantial. I hope.

Celebrating life

Celebrating life

Earlier today, my Cousin Erica said it was fitting that we held my Grandma’s celebration of life on the same day as the Oscars, because she loved that award show quite a bit.

To be fair the Oscars are only coincidentally happening on the same day. We held our gathering today because her birthday would be tomorrow if she was still with us.

I just couldn’t think of a better way to briefly express my appreciation for Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse winning Best Animated at the awards. Since that’s really all I cared about from the Academy tonight.

Plus we saw the movie with my Grandpa not too long ago. That works as a transition, right?

Family, including my great-cousins out from New Jersey, as well as friends on both my Dad and Aunt Mindy’s Rolodex came out of the woodwork to help us celebrate.

My Aunt’s house was absolutely packed with people:

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Especially messy considering there were four dogs running around the house as well.

But all things being equal, it was a lot less of a mess than many of us had been expecting. Spending upwards of five hours this afternoon with such a packed house could have been an issue, but it wound up being a really chill, sweet time.

It probably helped that we had a ton of food lying around.

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If we Jews know how to do anything, it’s how to lay out a hell of a spread for a celebration. Plus a lot of our extended guests were happy to bring extra food in consolation.

While the food, the schmoozing among friends and my cousin’s heartfelt tribute were all wonderful parts of the event, probably my favorite part was getting to go through a lot of really old family photos and documents with my family around.

I threw a couple of them up on my social media in tribute:

But our collection went all over the place. From mid-1900s pictures with my close family to much more ancient stuff from the 1800s, before parts of that side moved to America during the turmoil of WWII in Eastern Europe.

Another one of my favorites was this piece, my Grandparent’s marriage certificate.

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Yet, it would be remiss of me not to spend at least a little bit of time talking about the doggos. I’m fairly convinced she liked those cuties a bit more than the rest of us by the end, anyway.

Which frankly is only half a joke. She loved these pups.

So here I am, becoming the king of the mutts:

That cute guy on the left is Rocky, who was my Grandma and Grandpa’s dog before they couldn’t really take care of him anymore. Though I do much prefer my photo with Rambo on the right.

Such a fluffy boi.

… Oh, and yes they are both named after Sylvester Stallone characters. Can’t tell you if that was intentional or not.

Though I can tell you that my doggo magnetism must run in the family, as I also got to see the original king of the dogs at work:

Look how happy he is. Gotta love it.

I’ve been a little silent about my Grandma lately, as we’re all just kind of chugging along trying to get used to that feeling in the back of our hearts. But realistically, that feeling might never go away.

It just so happens that days like today are really helpful to move forward with a smile and remember the good.

If you haven’t, hug your family everyone. You never know how many more chances you’ll have.

Aches and pains

Overall this Winter Break has been strange.

I spent the first week or two sick in bed, and kept the sore throat for some time after.

Figured that was going to be the end of my rainy season hardships. But then it actually started raining hard in SoCal and everything fell apart again.

Just after finishing my Breath of the Wild post yesterday, I’m pretty sure I was hit with some kind of strange bug. I tried to sleep from 5:00 p.m. or so until this morning and honestly had trouble because I couldn’t warm up and all of my joints hurt.

What made it especially strange was that it seemed entirely confined to one night. By the time I woke up this morning, the sensation had passed.

Really the only effect of that brief, yet intense little cold was the fact that it sapped away all of my sleep. I’m sure you’ve all had those nights where you didn’t get any in spite of losing a number of hours laying in bed.

That was me.

Unfortunately, that lack of sleep came back to bite me in the ass this morning twice over.

First when I had to wake up extra early, around 6:00 a.m. or so, to take out the trash since Thursdays are garbage day and I happened to be so out of it that I forgot to pull it together last night.

Then when I had to re-wake up not much longer after to go to my 10:00 a.m. orthodontist appointment.

A few weeks back the permanent retainer on the back of my top teeth broke. I mentioned it briefly in a post where I was venting about a lot of stuff, It was an issue I meant to resolve much earlier, but that big bout of sickness happened to come about right when I had my first appointment scheduled, so I had to cancel it.

Can’t really justify forcing some poor folks to dig around in my mouth while I’m coughing and probably breathing out all kinds of nasty particulates.

Unfortunately that kindness toward the orthodontists was a double-edged sword. Apparently in the few short weeks since that bracket broke, my two front teeth have already started to drift apart. By this point the gap, as relatively unnoticeable as it is for me, was big enough to warrant not moving forward on repairs today.

Instead I’m going to wear my regular retainer 24/7 to try to bring my teeth back into place so we can seal them in place again.

On the bright side, that meant we didn’t have to pay for anything today because no work was done besides cleaning the cement where the old bracket was.

On the less bright side, wearing that thing so much after admittedly not doing so over the last few years makes for a very uncomfortable sensation in my mouth.

Thus it’s been a few days of joint pain and gum pain. As per the advertised joys of being 21.

Hopefully as the rain starts to fade into the weekend, all will start to feel better. That’s all I can ask for with school starting next week.

New adventures (real and fake)

New adventures (real and fake)

So I broke my New Year writing streak yesterday. Unless you want to substitute in that day I did two posts in one, in which case I’m right on track!

But if you don’t count that, I have a good excuse.

It was raining a lot, and that made me lethargic.

Plus I was playing a lot of Breath of the Wild.

That’s right, after talking all about my desire to return to Hyrule earlier this week, I actually went through with my threat and popped the game back in.

Frankly?

After a year-and-a-half break, everything about this open-world Zelda experience feels fresh again. It seems like I’m getting through the map way faster with just as much of a fine-toothed comb.

I actually cleared out two portions of the map in just the last two days, which included finally making my way into Death Mountain…

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… finding my second Divine Beast…

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… and destroying the blight inside…

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… to bring peace to Goron City!

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Primed and ready to fire.

I think the most astounding thing about Breath of the Wild to me is how easy it was to pick up and play again after so many months.

It only took a few minutes to re-familiarize myself with the controls before I was running all across Hyrule, solving puzzles and slaying baddies with a bunch of very powerful weapons I saved up. Even most of the side-quests came right back to me as soon as I saw brief reminders in the Adventure Log.

For having such a large map, Breath of the Wild actually has a lot of landmarks that made it feel like I haven’t taken a single day off. It’s a bit uncanny, honestly.

Oh and in case that video I put on Twitter didn’t make it clear, I’m having a blast doing neat things. Plus the NPCs are far funnier than I remember!

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I don’t know who you are random Hylian lady, but you have a great little backstory packed into one line.

So yeah. Breath of the Wild has actually been a godsend for the end of my Winter Break, where I haven’t had too many chances to see my friends. Perhaps it’s less of a godsend for the work on my novel I was planning to finish but…

I’ll get that done.

I swear.

To be fair, BotW hasn’t been the only distraction in my life. I went on a strange adventure with my Mom today.

About a week ago I got a letter from the State Controller of California.

As it turned out, I apparently had some dormant savings account at a bank that isn’t what my family uses. We don’t remember making it or anything, but the Controller let us know there was about $80 in the account — and that if we didn’t claim it soon, the money would go directly to the State.

I’m not one to let $80 slip away that easily.

So I followed through with that bank and went over there with Mom today, assuming she set it up the account considering it has been dormant since 2010.

However, when we arrived, it turned out there was no longer that much in there.

For some reason the information we got from the State Controller just a week ago was accurate to the balance over a year ago? As a result of the upkeep cost, by the time we showed up there was only about $20 to pull out.

Hurray.

Don’t get me wrong, $20 is $20 and I was happy to get a little extra cash in my pocket. It’s just strange that we had gotten such a misleading number from the State.

So… I guess moral of the story is… Get your records together State Controller Yee.

The rest of my afternoon was right as rain — in the rain. Mom and I got coffee, then picked up my sister, came home and I pretty much just played more BotW.

Before stopping to write this post, of course.

I’ll probably be playing Zelda a lot in the next few days, so I’ll try not to bother you all with it unless some really cool stuff happens. It just felt pertinent to give the world an update on how my prior indecision turned out to be a net positive.

Sometimes the world just needs some feel-good stories like that.

Yearning for games prematurely abandoned

I was originally going to spend part of today writing the post that will probably ruin my reputation once and for all. A post about my recent relapse into playing the Pokémon Trading Card Game Online.

But uhh… I got lazy and didn’t put the effort in.

So sorry about that! Maybe tomorrow.

Now to be fair, it wasn’t pure laziness that kept me away. I may or may not have slept late after staying up real early, but then I did spend a good amount of time working on stuff for Gladeo and my novel this afternoon.

Plus there were a good amount of chores getting done. There’s only about a week left until the new semester starts, so I’ve gotta get through them while I can.

However, I didn’t want to skip out on writing anything tonight. Not when keeping up the craft outside of work-related pursuits is something of an unofficial New Year’s resolution.

So I think I’m instead going to chew on my sudden desire to return to an experience… Somewhat long-since abandoned.

It all began with Smash Bros. Ultimate, actually. Despite how long it has been since the game came out, I still find myself playing quite a bit. Maybe not as intensely as I did when I was grinding through World of Light, but I’m still hoping to improve so I can have more fun matches with my friends.

Then the other day I was playing on the new Great Plateau Tower map, griping about how I wished Link was his Twilight Princess design since I personally prefer it (in spite of the fact that Breath of the Wild Link has his own interesting mechanical complexities that are arguably more diverse).

Playing in the background was the theme song to BotW. But something about part of the song brought to mind the 2016 reveal trailer for the game.

When I first saw that at E3, I was fucking hooked on it like a drug.

No joke, I played the trailer on repeat just to hear the music (even while showering), at times on the verge of tears from how beautiful it looked and sounded. I’m not sure a trailer for a game has ever had that effect on me before.

I was so obsessed with it that I wrote a blog post back before it was something commonplace.

In fact I didn’t even realize that post was more about Pokémon Sun and Moon than it was Breath of the Wild, because I only recall the Zelda trailer leaving an impression!

Once BotW came out, for a long while I was disappointed that I didn’t have the Nintendo Switch to play it on. The Wii U version seemed like it might be inferior, so I avoided it.

Which to be fair means I’m probably part of the reason why the Wii U failed. Whoops.

Eventually I did get the console, and the summer of 2017 becoming the summer of Zelda as a result. I played the game obsessively, combing through the vast environment until I literally got sick of it.

Seriously, I completed one of the Sacred Beast temples and explored a good quarter+ of the map before giving up because I was too overwhelmed with how I was playing it. I may have put it in my top games of 2017 list, but I haven’t looked back.

Yet remembering that trailer gave me flashbacks to the gut feeling of awe.

A feeling which only got more intense as I discovered a new YouTube obsession with KingK.

The guy does extended retrospectives on different game series. The 3D Zeldas, 2D Sonics, Kingdom Hearts, etc. I find his videos really compelling because they don’t strictly focus on the same arguments you’ve likely heard a million times. They seem more about his personal, emotional connections with each game.

All still mediated by tough analysis.

He has some great content and I’d highly recommend watching it.

KingK became important to this conversation because I happened to come across his (no joke) hour-and-a-half long analysis of Breath of the Wild soon after getting the feels over that trailer again.

Frankly? I think it primed me to want to jump into the game again.

I’ve always said I have a complicated relationship with BotW. I love the game but could never complete it.

Nearly two years later, I think it might finally be time to delve into the Hyrule of the Wild once again. Hopefully to see its story through to the end.

This little silly post actually wound up being longer and a bit more self-reflective than I expected, so hopefully you all don’t find it too superfluous.

I’d love to know if you’ve had any experiences with games that you may have abandoned, only to yearn for it again years later. Just so I know I’m not crazy!