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If We Were Having Coffee: Catching Up On Life

If We Were Having Coffee Image Ten

Hello everyone! Sorry for not doing one of these posts in two weeks. I’ve had a lot going on the past two weeks that I wasn’t available to do one for you. Hope you all are doing well this week and are having a lovely weekend.

If we were having coffee, I’d like to let you know what all I’ve been up to since we last spoke. I’d tell you about socializing with some old and true friends. I’d tell you I went to my best friend’s husband’s birthday party on a Saturday two weekends ago and got so drunk that I was hungover the next day. But I’d also tell you the party was fun and that I had a good time seeing my best friend once again. I’d also tell you about seeing my old friend from middle school that following Tuesday that I haven’t spoken to and really spent time with since high school. I’d tell you we were playing Pokémon Go because she’s become as addicted to it as I’ve been. I’d also like to mention I also saw her husband and daughter who I met briefly once a December a couple years ago. I’d tell you we all had a good time, and that it felt nice catching up with her, just like old times. We talked a lot about the stuff we did when we were younger, but also talked about how much things have changed over the last couple years. But also said we definitely need to do this again, and made sure we made plans to hang out together.

On that Tuesday after we hung out, I went to our Neighborhood Association National Night Out. My Mom is a part of the association as secretary and the person they had set everything up did a really good job. Unfortunately, the event didn’t last too terribly long because it began to pour minutes after it all started.

I also saw my sister the following Sunday after missing the opportunity the previous weekend to spend time with her. We met up near the college she attended, grabbed breakfast and walked around campus for a little bit. It looks like they are doing some construction around campus for the bridge program students, which really had Laney in quite a tizzy. But it felt nice to see my sister again, even if it was only for a brief moment.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you I’m sorry for not writing as many blog posts. Part of the reason I haven’t done quite as many is because I’m not sure what I want to write about on my blog next. That, along with using the new platform and taking the online course, for which I’ve already written two new posts, I’m hesitant still about posting the same material on two different sites. Mostly because for the class I can’t do that so I’m just treading carefully right now. Though I think I know what I want to do, or what I plan on doing, to say the least. Since I’ve been taking the online class, I originally wasn’t planning on doing any posts on that site until I completed the course. However, I think this might be counterproductive to me. Because if during the time I’m taking the course I decide to write video game reviews, I want to post them both on the site but on my blog as well. Not because I don’t want to post any of my other posts on my blog, but because I normally like having my video game reviews on my blog and would prefer to keep it that way, if I can. And the posts that I’m doing to complete the course are usually more specific in nature, I’d prefer to keep them on the site than have them both here on my blog and their site. So instead of sharing all of the posts for the course on here, I’m going to share them on my Twitter, and then at the end of the course talk about my whole experience with it and what I learned from it on my blog. Then from there, put whatever posts I decide to write on Now Loading onto my blog too so that you guys can still read what I’ve written. I hope that isn’t too confusing, but just know I’ll still be blogging on here, but I’ll probably only be doing reviews or some of my own writing unless I can think of something that I don’t want to post about on the other site.

In other news, I’d briefly like to mention with that I’m going to start playing some other games. While I’m still playing Pokémon Go currently, I’m not really playing too much else at the moment. I just started playing Transistor yesterday, which I’m pretty excited about because I’ve been wanting to play it for a while on Steam, but just hadn’t gotten around to it yet. So that’ll probably be the next game I post about on my blog while still deciding what I want to talk about for assignment three at Creators Academy. I think I’ll probably do my next assignment on The Hunger Games again like I’d planned on doing, but still trying to figure out what I want to talk about with it. But I’m also interested in playing No Man’s Sky at some point, though I’ve been hearing there’ve been a lot of issues with it on PC. So I’ll probably wait until the PC issues are fixed or until I can get a PlayStation 4 to play it because I don’t want to deal with those issues on my computer, if I can avoid it. Plus, I want to get a PlayStation 4 in the near future anyway so I might as well save up my money and wait until I’m back at work making some money to get it.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you I’ve finished reading both Shadow Mountain and Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. I enjoyed reading both books, but for very different reasons. You can see the reviews if you want to know more. But with the Harry Potter book, just be warned that my review has a lot of spoilers about what happens. So if you don’t want your reading experience to be ruined, I’d suggest you to wait until after you’ve read it to check out my review.

I think that’s it, that I can think of right now. I know I have a lot this week going on because my work is having a meeting this Thursday and I’ll be hanging out with my friend and catching up again tomorrow. But I’ll let you know how I’m doing again in my next coffee post. Until then though, I hope your all doing well and have had a wonderful weekend so far.  

Creative Academy Chapter One Assignment: The Girl With Two Fandoms

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Hello everyone! I’m excited to announce I’ve officially posted my first post on the site I’ve mentioned, which can be found here for you guys to read and check out too. It’s actually a post I wrote for the online class I’m taking Creators Academy.

Creators Academy is an online class that will teach you how to be a better online writer and allows you to better familiarize yourself with their platform’s tools. The class has a total of ten lessons, each divided up into readings that you can enjoy at your own pace. With each of these lessons is a writing assignment that you have to post on the site before you can start the next chapter.

Since I decided to take the class, I figured I’d start off my posts there with the writing assignments from the lessons. The first lesson focused on why a person writes and had some of their writers talking about why they write.

The first writing assignment was to talk about something your passionate about in a unique way. So I decided to talk about The Hunger Games, my second favorite series next to Harry Potter. I focused on writing about why I enjoy the series, but tried making it brief so the post wasn’t too long.

Unfortunately, it didn’t turn out exactly the way I wanted it to. But it’s the first post on their site after all so I know with each post I’ll continue to improve my writing. I emailed the person who told me about their site because he asked me to send him my first post once I had it published. He offered me some suggestions of ways I could fix it or how I can expand on my topic for my next post, which I found to be very helpful and definitely hope to take his suggestions in the near future.

While I don’t know just yet if my next post on their site will be about The Hunger Games, I’m looking forward to continue taking this class and working on improving my writing even more.

If We Were Having Coffee: A Week of Opportunity

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Hello everyone! I hope you’ve all had a good week, that it was everything you wanted it to be. Wow, this coffee picture looks absolutely good. While I don’t normally drink coffee, it looks like something I’d enjoy. Be that as it may though since it’s coffee, I’m unfortunately going to have to pass.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you it’s been another good week. I’ve continued obsessively to play Pokémon Go along with playing Pokémon Blue too. Because of playing this game, it’s really made me in the mood to play other Pokémon games as well. This week I’ve become obsessively in love with Pokémon all over again.

Pokemon Blue Version

I hate to say this but until now, I thought I’d grown out of Pokémon. Not because I didn’t love playing it anymore, but because as I continued playing the newer games, I found myself getting tired of the same repetition. Of seeing new Pokémon being created with no creativity and having to continuously grind each time I wanted to get my team to a certain level. But now that Pokémon Go is out, I’ve found myself remembering why I enjoyed playing Pokémon so much. It was the thought of becoming the best trainer that had me playing the games when I was little and Pokémon Go was able to bring that reality to life for me. And ever since this game came out, I’ve loved Pokémon again like I did as a child and know I won’t be turning my back on it no more.

I really enjoy Pokémon Go because it’s motivated me to take up walking again. As someone who has a high amount of cholesterol, walking is a good thing for me to do because it allows me to exercise in a way I enjoy and that will help with my heart health. Its motivated me whenever I’ve felt the need to just sit at home to go outside despite the conditions and try to catch them all. Whenever I get an egg from a PokeStop, I find myself curious about what Pokémon is inside it and want to walk the necessary miles to find out. Even when it’s a Pokémon I already have, I find myself excited at the prospect of hatching an egg because it means I’ve done quite a bit of walking and feel as if I’ve made some progress in leveling up my trainer. This is important because I know I have a health problem but I also know I have a hard time breaking bad habits. And having a game like this is a good way to motivate me to walk more because it allows me to work towards a goal I enjoy completing and doing it in a way that satisfies me. It allows me to feel happy about myself and what I’m doing because I’m enjoying every minute of it. I find pride in myself every time I’m able to catch a new Pokémon or whenever I’m able to evolve the Pokémon I already have on my team and want to celebrate it because it means I’m doing something I love that’s also benefiting my overall health. As I continue playing this game, I’m finding myself happier with myself, wanting to do the best I can to continue moving forward in life to become the best person I’m meant to be. I know this game isn’t the sole responsibility for that necessarily, but I think it’s definitely helped and I know I’ll continue to play it to see how far I can go to become the best trainer that ever was.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you I’ve also been playing Spyro Year of the Dragon too. When I’m not busy catching Pokémon, I’ve also been playing this game, trying the best I can to continue progressing to the end. And so far, I’ve been enjoying playing this game from my childhood just as much because its brought back so many memories that bring a smile to my face.

Like when I played the previous Spyro games, I also wrote a blog post about this one, which resulted in hearing about an opportunity I didn’t expect. Someone commented on the blog post, mentioning a video game site and how they are interested in me becoming a writer on the site. Now while you all know my blog isn’t just video game content, video games are something I absolutely enjoy playing so getting a comment on one of my blog posts about doing something like this made me happy. I really enjoy playing video games and have looked into doing that type of writing for a site before, but was nervous about whether I should actually do it or not. Not because I didn’t want to do it, but because most of my writing content with video games tends to focus on much older games that I played during my childhood more so than newer games that’ve just been released. I do play newer games whenever I have the chance, but I don’t play them as much because I can’t always afford to play newer games due to not having any of the newest systems released. The newest consoles I currently own are my PSP and Nintendo DS even though I do want a PlayStation 4 of my own one of these days. And most video game websites tend to focus on new releases than on anything that’s been out for a couple of years. However, I’m still interested in it and have already reached out to the person who commented on my blog to find out more about this opportunity. So hopefully this works out a whole lot better than the two job interviews I’ve had. Because I would love to write for a video game site (or any site in general for that matter) and think it would be a great way for me to get even more exposure as a writer.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that while I haven’t been doing too many blog posts, I do have some writing ideas brewing in the back of my mind. One of the posts I plan on publishing very soon is a poem I wrote the other night just before I went to bed. I have it saved on my phone right now because I didn’t have paper when it popped into my head so I wrote it down through the only means I had available at the time. I actually plan on publishing it tomorrow so I don’t have to worry about losing it. In a couple days (July 28th to be exact), I will have been writing on my WordPress blog for a year. I am so happy that it’s almost been a year since I’ve started my blog that I plan on doing a post about it as well. I also have a fiction story in the back of my mind that I want to work on sometime soon. I don’t know when yet, but I hope to publish that on my blog as well, depending on when I decide to do it. So far that’s it with blog post ideas. Because I could do another Pokémon blog post, but I don’t know if I really want to do another one yet.

Other than that, I don’t really have anything else to talk about with you all. Mom and I went downtown yesterday because I’ve heard that there are a lot of PokeStops in cities and I wanted to get more Poke Balls and catch more Pokémon. But other than that, I haven’t been up to too much this week. Just hoping to continue on my Pokémon adventure and see how far it gets me.

What about you guys though? Are any of you playing Pokémon Go? If not, what’ve you been up to this week?

Reliving Memories: Spyro Year of the Dragon

Spyro Year of the Dragon

Spyro Year of the Dragon is the third Spyro game I enjoyed during my childhood. Released in 2000, it is a platform, gem collecting game developed by Insomniac Games and published by Sony Computer Entertainment.

The story of Spyro Year of the Dragon focuses on an evil sorceress stealing the dragon eggs in Spyro’s world and bringing them to the Forgotten Realm where magic no longer exists. Spyro must now go to the Forgotten Realm to collect as many of the eggs as you can and defeat the Sorceress.

Spyro Year of the Dragon continues adding more of the abilities you gain while playing Spyro in the previous game. This is one of the best things about this Spyro game. Not only can you swim, hover and many other abilities, but Spyro also gains four new allies in his journey to collect all the dragon eggs. Each of the allies you obtain in the main worlds you go to by paying Moneybags for their release. You then play as each of these allies in order to collect more eggs and progress further into the game. I enjoy this aspect of the game because it introduces you to more characters and allows you to play as someone else for a little while.

Spyro Year of the Dragon 2

Spyro Year of the Dragon also allows you to play as Sparx, Spyro’s dragonfly throughout the game. The game considers these levels as bonus levels that are unlocked after defeating the boss you have to face before going to the next world. These levels are considerably different from the rest of the game because Sparx has his own unique moves that involve shooting in order for Sparx to defeat nearby enemies. But once you clear these levels, Sparx gains a new ability that will help Spyro on his journey.

Spyro Year of the Dragon 3

These levels are quite a bit of fun, but also challenging at the same time. Controlling Sparx is difficult at times as you try the best you can not to let your health sink. But they are rewarding because the abilities you gain after you clear these levels are worth the trouble.

I also enjoy playing this game because the levels are a lot of fun to go through. As a child, I remember playing this game and having a lot of fun with it as I tried the best I could to get all of the eggs in each of the levels. I still enjoy it now as much as I did then, trying to remember where all of the eggs have been placed.

One of my favorite things about Spyro Year of the Dragon is the things you have to do in order to get the eggs. In some levels, you have to carefully maneuver on the platforms to reach them while other levels you have to overcome races or different games, such as skateboarding. I find these challenges to get the eggs to be pretty enjoyable because they are a lot of fun to do. I enjoy the skateboard ones in particular to be enjoyable because I enjoy seeing a dragon on a skateboard and being in control of his movements.

Spyro Year of the Dragon 4

However, there is one aspect in Spyro Year of the Dragon I’m not particularly fond of. Even though they are a little bit easier, I still don’t enjoy the speedway levels all too much. While they are easier in this Spyro game, they’ve also added races and challenges with Hunter you have to overcome to get more of the eggs. I don’t mind doing these things all too much other than I feel like it puts too much into the game. I do enjoy them because they can be fun, but whenever they are too challenging to me, they can be irritating to put up with. I’d rather just have one of the three in order to get an egg instead of having to do all three things.

But overall, I’m still enjoying this game as much as I did as a child. While Spyro Year of the Dragon isn’t my favorite out of these three Spyro games, I still get a lot of enjoyment out of it and will be sad once I clear it.

If We Were Having Coffee: No Pain, No Gain

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Happy Sunday everyone! I hope you all had a good week and that your weekend is everything you want it to be.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you it really does feel nice to be back home. I remember last weekend when I mentioned my trip to Nashville that I wasn’t at home for most of last week. So this week has mostly been me adjusting to being back at home.

What I can tell you about this week is that it hasn’t been that productive of one. I only did one job application throughout the week. It was a job application for a volunteer opportunity with AmeriCorps. I heard about this opportunity from one of my professors at college who saw they were looking for people and let me know to apply. So I did the application and quickly heard back that they were interested in conducting a phone interview with me for the position. So now I’m just waiting to find out when our phone interview will take place. Speaking of jobs, one of the applications I did way back in May I heard back from this week too. They were also interested in doing a phone interview with me for the position, which I did on Thursday afternoon. I don’t know how I feel about that interview. I know it definitely could’ve gone better, but I’ll just wait and see. If they are interested in me any further, I’ll be hearing from them soon. If not, then I did the best I could and will just have to accept it’s not meant to be.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you about the two cold sores I have on my lips. I don’t know what exactly happened for them to get there, if I bit my lip or what, but they really hurt. Have been the biggest pain in my butt this week because they make it difficult for me to eat and do things like brush my teeth. So I’m just trying to do everything I can to ignore the pain, but we bought some cream I can put on them yesterday when we went to the store. I think that’ll help with the pain and hopefully clear them up. I just wish I knew how I got them so I could make sure it didn’t happen again. But there’s not too much I can do about that now. Just have to do everything I can to make them go away so I don’t have to deal with them anymore.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you it’s really been a good week. Besides this mouth pain, I’ve had a good time at home. I continued playing Spyro Ripto’s Rage and am almost done completing the game. Just have two worlds left before I fight Ripto as the last boss. Planning on getting through that soon. But I’ve also been playing Pokémon Go quite a bit too. It’s becoming one of my favorite video games because I just enjoy it. Reminds me so much of playing Pokémon during my childhood and battling to become the best trainer in the world. I also love it because it’s gotten me to go out and walk around, both in my neighborhood and other places. When I mentioned to Mom that I needed to go to some PokeStops because I ran out of Poke Balls and needed some more, she immediately took me to the nearest walking trail by our house. She took me there because one time when we’d gone out, I saw on the game that there were some PokeStops there that I could go to. So we went there to walk instead of doing our neighborhood so I could get my Poke Ball inventory back in order. We actually went there twice to walk because Mom suggested us going back there the next day. It is a pretty great place to walk. The trail goes so many different directions that you could go any way and end up somewhere you didn’t expect to be. But one of the places we went to on our first walk since Pokémon Go was so beautiful I couldn’t help but take a picture of it.

Harbison Recreation Center Water Fountain

It was such a beautiful setting and such a beautiful place to go that I wish I’d taken more pictures of this beautiful water as I saw the ripples cascading around me. Another aspect of Pokémon Go I’ve found myself enjoying is that it allows people to explore the world around them. To see all of these new places you might’ve never gone to before. It makes me want to find beauty in the world around me that I know does exist. This game is also a strong motivation for me to walk, something I normally enjoy doing but don’t do as much as I should. I know part of the problem is the temperature outside because it’s so hot that I can feel the heat as soon as I step outside. But Pokémon Go makes me want to face the heat anyway, want to walk and explore the world around me despite the weather outside. But it does it in a way not at all criticizing the player but rewarding them for their hard work. It is something I really appreciate. There are so many people who criticize gamers so much for spending hours playing video games, for doing something they enjoy that having a video game that rewards its players for what they are doing is a great motivation for them to continue doing that task. I also enjoy this game motivating me to walk because I know I need to. It’s something I know I should be doing every day and having a game that brings one of my childhood dreams to life is one way I know will help motivate me to continue walking whenever I feel like giving up.

I’d also like to mention along with playing Pokémon Go I also finished reading Into the Woods and have started reading Shadow Mountain: A Memoir of Wolves, a Woman, and the Wild, one of the books I had bought at 2nd and Charles a little while ago. Into the Woods was overall an okay read for me. It wasn’t the worst book I’ve read, but also wasn’t the best book I’ve read either. I enjoyed the mysterious circumstances surrounding the main character in the novel despite the disappointing aspects of the story that didn’t endear the book to me. I think the book I’ve started reading though will prove to be a much better read to me because it’s about an animal I enjoy learning more about. But will just have to wait and see to know for sure.

If we were having coffee, I’d also mention that we are getting close to the day I first started this blog last year. I plan on doing a blog post on this because I want to talk about my experience with blogging so far and what all I’ve learned since I created Vook: Books + Video Games and what I hope for as I continue blogging. I know a lot has changed for me since I first started this blog, and can’t wait to talk about my experience so far with you. I know there are some things I want to do in order to improve my blog, which is something else I plan on talking about with that post. I hope you all read it and tell me what you think because I want as much feedback as I can get on how to improve my blog. But I also want to hear other’s stories about their blogging journey and what they’ve learned along the way. Along with this post, I’m figuring out what else I want to post next in the days to come. I know I still have the one fictional story buzzing around in my head yet to be written so I’ll try to get that posted as soon as I can for you all to read and enjoy. Hopefully it’ll be as good as it is in my head, but we’ll just have to wait and see.

But for now, I think I’ll be going. There really isn’t too much else for me to say here about my week. It’s mostly been reading, watching YouTube videos and playing video games, the normal stuff you all should expect from me now. But enough about me. What all have you been up to lately? I want to hear all about it.

First Impressions: Pokémon Go

Pokemon Go Video Game 2

Pokémon Go has quickly become one of my favorite newly released video games of the year. It is an augmented reality free mobile phone game that allows the player to catch Pokémon and walk around in order to get to PokeStops, where the player can collect the items they need to continue catching Pokémon.

Using GPS to track the player’s location, Pokémon Go allows the player to interact with Pokémon in the real world. While catching Pokémon, they each have Combat Power (otherwise known as CP in the game) that you can increase with candy. The higher the CP, the stronger the Pokémon. But the candy can also be used to evolve your Pokémon as long as you have enough of it to do so.

Pokemon Go Video Game 3

There are also locations where Pokémon Gyms are set up so the player can go and battle other teams in order to take over the Pokémon Gym. In these battles, the player attacks by tapping on their phone screen and dodges by swiping with your finger to the left or right. In order to take over a gym, however, the player has to defeat all of the Pokémon protecting the gym. Once these Pokémon are defeated, your team will be in possession of the gym so you can set up your Pokémon with the highest CP to protect the gym as well as train them to become stronger.

Pokemon Go Video Game 4

The first picture depicts what the gyms look like on your map. The second picture shows what a Pokémon battle looks like in Pokémon Go. And this last image is what your inventory of the Pokémon you’ve captured looks like.

When going to PokeStops, the player acquires various items to help them continue collecting Pokémon, such as Poke Balls, fruit and eggs. The eggs you get at PokeStops have Pokémon inside them and the only way you can hatch them is by walking a certain amount of kilometers. The larger the number of kilometers the better Pokémon you get. This is one of many features I enjoy about Pokémon Go because the player has to do quite a bit of walking in order to hatch all of their eggs.

As you continue playing, your character levels up and gets different rewards each time. Once you reach level five, you have to choose which team you want to be on before you can battle at Pokémon Gyms. In Pokémon Go there are three teams: Instinct, Mystic and Valor. Choosing a team doesn’t have any bearing on what happens in the game, just allows the player to battle other teams to take over a gym. But each team is uniquely different because the leaders each have a different way of looking at Pokémon.

Pokemon Go Video Game 5

What I really enjoy about Pokémon Go is that it’s brought one of my childhood dreams to life. As a child, I played a lot of Pokémon games and always dreamed of becoming a trainer. Of getting Pokémon of my own, battling gyms and becoming the best there ever was. And now this game has brought that dream to reality, allowing me and many others to go outside, capture Pokémon and have fun while doing it.

I also enjoy playing Pokémon Go because players have to be physically active in order to play it. While I have been able to catch some Pokémon while at home, if you want to get other types, you actually have to go out to find them. And I think that’s a really cool feature for this game. It gives players who normally aren’t active a chance to explore the world around them while having fun at the same time. I love it because I enjoy walking and it gives me one more reason to want to go outside even when I necessarily don’t feel like it.

But there are a couple of things with this game I don’t particularly like. For one, it’s more of a collecting game than anything else. Unlike its predecessors, the player only battles other Pokémon at the gyms. To me, that’s a little disappointing. I enjoyed in the other Pokémon games I’ve played being able to walk around in tall grass, battling other trainers and Pokémon to level up my team. Instead, we battle other Pokémon in gyms, which isn’t as much fun as previous games. And another issue I have with the game is the amount of bugs. When I first started playing Pokémon Go, there were a lot of issues with the servers going down and the game freezing while I was catching Pokémon. Now, it’s not as much of an issue but when I do have problems, it’s really annoying because it’s always right when I really want to play. However, I also understand Pokémon Go is such a popular game. Almost everyone I know is playing it because it’s been a part of their childhood like it has been mine. So I understand why the problems with the server are happening. Just can’t wait for the issues to stop so I can continue playing.

But despite these issues, Pokémon Go has quickly become one of my favorite games this year. It’s definitely a game I’ll always be playing because it’ll help motivate me to continue walking. But also because Pokémon holds a special place in my heart.

If We Were Having Coffee: Traveling to Nashville, Returning Home

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Good day everyone! Wow, it feels good to be back home again. Hope you all are doing well and had a good week so far.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you this week for me has been quite a busy one. I’ve been in Nashville for most of it, helping my sister move into her new apartment complex. I enjoyed all of my time up there because I not only spent some quality time with my sister, but my grandmother too. I enjoyed getting to help move my sister into her first new big girl place, getting to meet her two new roommates and getting to see what the city of Nashville, Tennessee has to offer. It’s a beautiful city, very bustling with life and many different places a person can go to explore. I enjoyed every minute I spent there with my family.

When we weren’t helping my sister unpack her things, we were exploring the city. We walked past the Frist Art Museum as well as some of the country music places that Nashville is very well-known for. We even went to the Grand Ole Opry, even though we only went inside to the gift shop because none of our family is big country music fans so we didn’t think it’d be worthwhile to spend money to get a full tour of the place. We also went to the Opryland Hotel, which is very beautiful inside with a riverboat tour that allows you to get even more acquainted with the place.

But before all of that, we celebrated our fourth of July in Nashville at a pizza place in the city. One of my sister’s new friends recommended the place and it was the perfect setting for us to enjoy some good pizza and see the fireworks we’d come into the city to see. We didn’t go deeper into the city because it kept raining so we wanted to be somewhere with shelter from the stormy weather. So we hung out at this pizza place instead where we listened to Sheryl Crow perform and then listened to the Nashville Symphony when the fireworks were in the sky. We had a great time despite all of the bad weather, making the most of our time in Nashville.

Our time in Nashville was a lot of fun and exhausting, all at once. We did a lot of unpacking to help my sister move into her new place while also getting to explore Nashville. It was a great time, full of fun and laughter. I took a lot of pictures in Nashville during my trip and have them posted on my Instagram for those interested in seeing what all I’ve gotten to see while there. I look forward to going there again in the future whenever we go to visit my sister. I really enjoy exploring whenever I go to a new place, especially cities because they have a whole lot to offer. I also feel like I’m going on an adventure, which makes me even more eager to explore new places.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you I’ve had a busy week at home too. The two days I had at home after returning weren’t too productive for me, but a lot of things did happen in the world that caused me some concern. This week, there have been shootings of two black men, Alton Sterling and Philando Castile by police and in Dallas, five police officers were killed during a protest of these two deaths. This has caused a lot of unrest for me for many reasons. I don’t have issues with black people or police just trying to do their job and protect their citizens. I do however, have problems with police who use excessive force that results in the loss of life. And in both of the shootings before the protest in Dallas, I feel like there was too much force used against these two men which resulted in their deaths. Now I understand the need for police to protect themselves whenever they feel like they’ve been threatened. But neither of these men were hurting anyone when they were shot and I feel like the police officers decided to shoot first, ask questions later. While I understand being a police officer is a difficult and dangerous job, I also don’t think they should be pulling out their guns unless absolutely necessary. And in both of these instances, I don’t think it was necessary. But that doesn’t mean I don’t feel sad for the police offers killed in Dallas.

I feel sad and outraged by all of the lives lost during these three incidents. I don’t think race should be an issue in our country, but I do believe racism is still alive in the world today. While I know being white I’ll never experience the racism that exists in our world, I want to do whatever I can to help those who do experience it and let them know they aren’t alone. I know I’m not perfect, but I want to do whatever I can to help because we are all human and deserve to be treated equally no matter our skin color. Along with that, I’d also like to say I’m sorry to the police officers who’ve lost their lives during the Dallas shooting. I have full respect for police officers who act to protect all of their citizens and am sorry you lost your lives because of a few bad apples. Just know I thank you for upholding the law and doing everything you can to protect innocent civilians during this difficult time. I don’t really think there’s too much more I can say because I know there’s a problem in our country that needs to be fixed, but don’t know of any way to fix it.

If we were having coffee, I’d also tell you that Pokémon Go came out earlier this week. It is a real world adventure game where you as a Pokémon trainer can catch virtual Pokémon in your own backyard as you move in real time. I’m really excited about this game because I played Pokémon quite a bit during my childhood. It was one of many of my favorite video games growing up. So having a video game like this one where you as the player can travel as an actual trainer makes me really excited to see what this game is like. And so far, I’ve enjoyed my experience playing it. When I first started playing, there were a lot of times the server went down so I wasn’t able to do too much in it. But now, I feel like I’m finally getting a handle on how the game is to be played. While I haven’t progressed too far into it just yet to do a first impressions post, I’m looking forward to continue playing it to see how far I get.

Pokemon Go Video Game

Along with playing video games, I’ve also finished reading Armada and written my review for it on my blog along with started reading In the Woods. So far, it’s a pretty interesting read and am interested in seeing where the story continues to go.

Other than that, I don’t really have too much else to say. The weather here has been very hot recently so I haven’t been out and about too much lately.  Mom and I went swimming at a friend of hers house yesterday in order to cool off which really helped me feel cooled off. Hope you all are doing well and are enjoying your weekend too.

Book Review: Armada

Armada Book Cover

Rating: 4 stars

Zack Lightman has spent his life dreaming. Dreaming that the real world could be a little more like the countless science-fiction books, movies, and video games he’s spent his life consuming. Dreaming that one day, some fantastic, world-altering event will shatter the monotony of his humdrum existence and whisk him off on some grand space-faring adventure.

But hey, there’s nothing wrong with a little escapism, right? After all, Zack tells himself, he knows the difference between fantasy and reality. He knows that here in the real world, aimless teenage gamers with anger issues don’t get chosen to save the universe.

And then he sees the flying saucer.

Even stranger, the alien ship he’s staring at is straight out of the videogame he plays every night, a hugely popular online flight simulator called Armada—in which gamers just happen to be protecting the earth from alien invaders. 

No, Zack hasn’t lost his mind. As impossible as it seems, what he’s seeing is all too real. And his skills—as well as those of millions of gamers across the world—are going to be needed to save the earth from what’s about to befall it.

It’s Zack’s chance, at last, to play the hero. But even through the terror and exhilaration, he can’t help thinking back to all those science-fiction stories he grew up with, and wondering: Doesn’t something about this scenario seem a little…familiar?

At once gleefully embracing and brilliantly subverting science-fiction conventions as only Ernest Cline could, Armada is a rollicking, surprising thriller, a classic coming of age adventure, and an alien invasion tale like nothing you’ve ever read before—one whose every page is infused with the pop-culture savvy that has helped make Ready Player One a phenomenon.

Wow, I really enjoyed reading this book. I enjoyed reading it a whole lot more than I did Ready Player One.

For one, I felt like the plot of Armada was developed a whole lot better. I felt like the whole story made more sense and Ernest Cline didn’t make too many overwhelming science fiction references to the reader. I also could relate to Zack’s character on a more personal level. Like Zack, my father also hasn’t been a part of my life. While some people are fortunate and have both parents in their life, not everyone is quite so lucky and not having that figure around can impact a child’s life. For Zack, it caused him to question the world around him and made him obsessed with video games and the stuff his father left behind. But it also resulted in anger issues that could’ve developed into something more serious if it weren’t for what happened in Armada.

Besides being able to relate to Zack, I also enjoyed reading this book because I felt like the other characters were a little more developed. The reader can see this in the story with Zack’s interactions with the other recruits and the close knit relationship he has with his mother. I also appreciated that the small amount of romance in this novel wasn’t pushed. Whenever I read books with a main focus in one particular genre, I sometimes get fed up when romance is constantly forced into the story whenever it’s not really needed to make the plot move forward. While I do love reading romantic scenes, it’s not always needed. Especially in a novel like this with heavy emphasis on science fiction. So I appreciated that Cline didn’t force Zack and his love interest together and that she was more of a minor character who helped save Zack whenever he needed it.

I really enjoyed reading Armada because the story felt real. I felt like I could imagine everything that was happening to Zack in his world as he tries everything he can to save humanity. He remained focused on what he needed to do, even when things got really tough and lives were lost in the process. I also enjoyed it because I felt like I could relate to Zack’s struggle. Before the events on Armada unfold, Zack always dreamed of being whisked away on an adventure, of something happening that would take him away from his ordinary life. So he lived in his own fantasy world, spending his free time playing video games whenever he could. I often had this type of experience myself too where I wished something extraordinary would happen to me and I’m sure I’m not the only one who has. In many ways, his struggles in the world are something everyone faces, which makes him even more relatable to anyone picking up this book.

The one issue with Armada I have, however, is the ending. To me, it was very emotional and I was upset at the direction Cline decided to take the story. I knew we were going to get an explanation for why these alien beings were attacking Earth, but I found the reasoning for it to be filled with so many holes that it made me really mad. I didn’t like the way Cline decided to take it because it felt like he killed off characters that I didn’t need to be killed. I was pretty upset because he killed off one of my favorite characters in Armada and it made it difficult for me to be happy with how the story ended. I also just expected there to be a bigger explanation for why everything happened and was disappointed because I didn’t get one.

Despite this one problem though, I really enjoyed reading this book. It was just the right story for me to read and had characters I could easily relate to that I’ll definitely be rereading Armada in the years to come. I look forward to see what other works Ernest Cline will create in the years to come since I enjoyed the two novels he’s written so far.

Reliving Memories: Spyro 2: Ripto’s Rage

Spyro 2 Ripto's Rage 1

Spyro 2: Ripto’s Rage, the second game in the Spyro series, is my favorite Spyro video game. Released in 1999, it is a platform, item collecting video game developed by Insomniac Games. The plot of this Spyro video game centers around the world of Avalar, where Spyro accidently travels while entering a portal for Dragon Shores. He was summoned there by some of the inhabitants of Avalar in order to defeat Ripto, an evil tyrant who’s using his minions Crush and Gulp to take over the world. As you travel the worlds in Avalar, you collect talismans which can be used to defeat Ripto as well as orbs which you need to open a portal back home.

This Spyro video game is my favorite from my childhood for a number of reasons. For one, I found Ripto and his lackeys Crush and Gulp to be my favorite villains in the series. I enjoy fighting against them and find their interactions in the series to be entertaining.

Spyro 2 Ripto's Rage Ripto Crush Gulp

Another aspect of Spyro 2: Ripto’s Rage I love is the amount of abilities this game gives you that wasn’t in the first Spyro game. In the first game, you weren’t able to climb walls, hover when flying, and swim. However, in this game, Spyro gains all three of these abilities throughout that become useful to you in all of the levels. Having these abilities is nice because they allow you to better get through the worlds to collect gems, orbs and talismans.

Spyro 2 Ripto's Rage Aquaria Tower

I also love this game because of the story behind each of the worlds you visit. Each world you go into for talisman, orbs and gems has a unique story with characters you have to help in order to obtain that world’s talisman. This is refreshing to me because each of these worlds have their own challenges you have to overcome. It makes the game that much more enjoyable because it feels like you have an objective you have to complete. But at the same time, it allows Spyro to use some of his new abilities to make it through these worlds.

Spyro 2 Ripto's Rage Crystal Glacier

I remember as a child the amount of times I played this game. I love it so much because of the characters and story that I couldn’t help it. I also loved the different things you did in order to get orbs such as playing hockey and returning the snow leopard in the picture above to his owner. Playing this Spyro game gives me so much nostalgia that I enjoy every minute I play it, making sure I do everything I can to complete each world. This game is one of my favorites from my childhood and I hope others who’ve played it feel exactly the same.

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