“F” is for “Fangirl” – An A-to-Z Blogging Challenge Post


For the A-to-Z Challenge 2017 I’m writing all about myself. Every post will be some random fact or bit of information about me that you may or may not have already known. Maybe you’ll learn something! Feel free to let me know! ^_^

I am an enormous fangirl in every sense of the word. I’ve often been teased – both on and off of my YouTube channel – for the massive number of Funko Pops I’ve amassed, but the fact of the matter is that it’s less about the Pop figures themselves and more about the fact that I love so many franchises. Let’s just try to list a few, shall we?

We’ve got… Star Wars, Star Trek, Doctor Who, Game of Thrones, Supernatural, some of the DC television universe (Arrow, Flash), pretty much all of the Marvel cinematic universe (Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, the Avengers, etc.), Buffy the Vampire Slayer, a ton of anime (Sailor Moon, Dragonball, Attack on Titan, Gintama, etc.), lots of comics – specifically Deadpool, tons of video game franchises (Final Fantasy, Legend of Zelda, Chrono Trigger, Gears of War, etc.), X-Files, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Predator, Die Hard, Alien, Disney in general, Harry Potter (movies and books), Stranger Things, Power Rangers, horror stuff in general (but 80’s slashers specifically)…

Need I go on?

Basically, I just love so many things, and I rarely ever stop loving something. I’m still hooked on stuff today that I first discovered when I was a kid, and the list is always growing with new (and new-to-me) discoveries, to the point that I’m practically the definition of FANGIRL nowadays. And I wear that badge with pride. XD

Are you a fanboy/fangirl for any particular franchises, or a million of them like me? Feel free to leave a comment!

It’s Almost (Self-)Publishing Time… – An IWSG Post

IWSG badge

Let’s be totally honest. Writer’s are insecure, like…200% of the time. We occasionally have little bouts of confidence and genuine belief in our abilities, but the overwhelming majority of the time we’re little balls of misery and self-loathing, rocking back and forth in the corner, insistent that we have no talent, no prospects, and that anyone who ever said they liked our books was a dirty, dirty liar.

That said, I personally feel that the most powerful moments of insecurity come right before something is about to be published.

I’ve been working on “The Other World” for more than a decade, no joke. That wasn’t all consecutive, of course. It began life as a therapeutic way of dealing with my then-boyfriend breaking up with me. Those early drafts were very, well…terrible. It was a Mary-Sue story in which everyone loved the main character except for herself, and she made a massively huge deal about her own breakup, as though it was literally the end of the world. It was absolutely horrible, but at the time it served it’s purpose. It made me feel a little better, and it was a reason to put words to paper.

Eventually it grew and evolved. I’m not joking even a little bit when I say that I restarted this particular story from scratch at least a dozen times. It was my NaNoWriMo novel twice, and I would regularly return to it and completely rewrite it whenever I would get bored or frustrated with my other works. And as time went on and I learned more about proper styles of writing, what turns readers off, and so forth, the story changed more and more and more. Eventually it became a series. Characters transformed. Main plot points shifted dramatically. To be perfectly honest, at this point what I have in my Scrivener file has extraordinarily little in common with the original story. It has matured spectacularly from what it started out as. Even I – as a completely self-loathing writer – can see that. The story that I am currently performing final edits on is nothing like the self-absorbed cathartic ramblings that I first put down back in college. It is much, much better. Infinitely so.

know this. And yet, as I wait (im)patiently for my cover artist to send me some ideas, and I finish those final edits on Book One of the series, I find that little voice beginning to whisper in the back of my mind. “This is complete crap,” it hisses. “Your beta-readers are liars, and you’re a talentless hack who will never have any real success as a novelist. You should delete the entire file and never speak of this story again.”

That voice is a bitch. I know this, and yet it is exceptionally difficult to quell her. I have become the master of procrastination, taking much longer at each step of the writing process than is reasonable, because that voice slows me down, weakens me, and convinces me that it’s pointless. She’s a complete and utter bitch and I hate her.

So I say this to you now: moving forward I am going to do my level best to smother that voice and bury her deep, deep down where I can’t hear her hateful hissing. I’m going to trust that my beta-readers weren’t just being nice to spare my feelings, I’m going to work with my cover artist to create something beautiful and attractive, and I’m going to put that something out there for the world to see. Then I’m going to take what comes as it comes. And then, regardless of the results, I’m going to sit at my laptop, and I’m going to get to work on finishing Book Two, and I’m going to start the process all over again. Because that’s what a real writer does. We murder that voice in cold blood – no matter how many times it resurrects itself – and put ourselves out there regardless of the vicious whispers.

Who’s with me?

Time for an Adorable Picture XD

Okay, so I MAY have been having a rough shift, and I MAY have lost track of time, and I MAY have forgotten to write a post today, but all that means is that I get a chance to share this picture:


See that right there? See the genuine smile and pride on that man’s face? You know what that is? That’s a damn good daddy right there, that’s what that is. And I jut wanted to share that because that’s awesome, and to hell with anyone who thinks that men can’t make amazing stay-at-home-parents. 😋

22 Rebuttals to Cape Breton Tips for American Immigrants

It started as a joke by a local radio announcer, which turned into a full-fledged website, which then went viral as tons of people genuinely began to research how to move to Cape Breton should Trump win the US Presidency. It’s been an amusing thing to watch, no doubt about that, but one of my favorite bits so far has been this little article, entitled “21 Cape Breton Tips for American Immigrants“. Ignoring, for a moment, the fact that there are actually 22 tips on the list, I got a huge kick out the article because many of the tongue-in-cheek statements are quite true. So, I thought that I’d look into them a little deeper, give my opinions, and confirm or deny each individual bullet point.

(Big props to Rory Andrews, of course, for coming up with the list in the first place.)

1. Never make fun of a man in a kilt. The kilt-wearing type of man is also the face-punching type of man.

True; take this one to heart. Don’t go thinking that, just because this is at the top of the list, there are droves of men in kilts wandering around Cape Breton, but if you see one there’s a good chance that he’s damn tough enough to be wearing it. Just this past Remembrance Day, we had an outdoor ceremony on my work site in Alberta, and a good ol’ Cape Breton boy was there to play the bagpipes. He was wearing a kilt and a pair of knee-high socks. It was -15 degrees Celsius at the time. No one with half a brain cell would try to pick a fight with a man wearing a kilt in -15 degrees for almost a full hour.

2. Never take the last Timbit. The last Timbit is sacred.

I don’t know if it’s so much that it’s sacred, as much as we’re just too polite to be the one to take the last of anything. Generally, I’ve found that the last Timbit gets sneaked when no one is looking because no one wants anyone to know that they’re the one that took it.

3. Don’t complain about how much you miss Krispy Kreme. We’ll send you back to Trumpsylvania from whence you came. In Canadian, “Krispy Kreme” translates to “The lesser doughnut.”

Yeah…Canadians just don’t get Krispy Kreme. We love our sweets as much as the next person, but Krispy Kreme donuts seem to us like the creation of a three year old with a major sweet-tooth and no self-restraint.

4. Don’t try to impress us with your fancy sports car. Get a good price on a used backhoe, then we’ll talk.

We’ve got no use for fancy sports cars in Cape Breton; our roads are too bad to be bothered with that kind of nonsense. But farm equipment, four-wheelers, skidoos, golf carts, all those kind of things? Yeah, that’s how you’re going to impress us for sure.

5. In Cape Breton, houses are the price of a new Mercedes. Boats are the price of a new Honda. You can live like a retirement ad on a shoestring budget, but our booze prices will put you in the poorhouse.

Dear lord, yes. Other Canadians, never mind Americans, look at Nova Scotia and wonder how the hell we even manage to get drunk for those prices. In NS, 24 bottles of any average beer costs about $45, and other forms of alcohol are similarly outrageous. It’s no wonder there’s such a thriving moonshine underground.

6. If you’re the superficial type, and are leaving America because Donald Trump looks like toad covered in drainage hair, our Prime Minister is now quite attractive.

As a female member of the island, I can confirm this statement. He ain’t bad.

7. When a Cape Bretoner asks you “What do you play?” Scrabble, Xbox, and ultimate frisbee are unacceptable answers. Acceptable answers include every musical instrument ever invented.

Honestly, those first few answers probably wouldn’t even occur to a Cape Bretonner. Maybe, maybe, that question would cause us to think of answers such as “hockey” or “curling”, but 99 times out of 100 the average Cape Bretonner is going to know right away that they’re being asked which musical instrument they play. And make no mistake, the overwhelming majority of us play at LEAST one instrument, or at the very least, can play a mean set of kitchen spoons.

8. If you are having a hard time finding things to talk about with Cape Bretoners, ask them how they heat their house. They’ll talk for five hours.

Dear lord yes. I think this one stems from the fact that, at one point in time pretty much everyone in Cape Breton had electric baseboard heaters, and then slowly but surely our electricity prices became higher than almost anywhere else in the country. So, these days we’re known to talk at length about which non-electrical method we’ve been using for heat, how good it works, how much it costs, and how it’s so much better than what you’re using.

9. There are 3 religions on Cape Breton Island. The Church of Bruins, the Church of Canadiens, and the Masochistic Ministry of the Maple Leafs.

There are a lot fewer of the Bruins members than the Canadiens or Leafs, but yeah, this pretty much holds true. Effectively everyone on the island roots for one of these three teams, and the Leafs fans are harder on themselves than anyone else. Even if an official NHL team was created in Nova Scotia tomorrow, I’d be willing to say that 99% of people here would keep right on rooting for these three particular teams.

10. You’re not a true Cape Bretoner until you can say “yeah” three times while inhaling.

Agreed, and I’ll explain a little further. You know how Newfies talk so fast and with such a strong accent that nearly no one else in the country can ever figure out what they’re saying? Well, that’s because they try their damnedest to get their entire train of thought out in one breath. Cape Bretoners, on the other hand, prefer breathing, so we talk a little slower but neglect to stop talking even while taking a breath. It’s a phenomenon that apparently only really occurs in Cape Breton specifically. Similarly, the more musical of us are able to whistle while breathing in, so as to not have to interrupt the song in order to avoid passing out.

11. In Cape Breton, you never know if you’re talking to the president of a multi-million dollar company or your local garbageman. We all dress the same here. It’s kind of like a nudist colony.

Truth. You will very rarely see someone walking around in a suit, but it’s the exception rather than the rule. Jeans and t-shirts are the uniform of choice for everyone from surgeons to farmhands in Cape Breton.

12. If you’re invited to a potluck and don’t know what to bring, the correct answer is egg salad finger sandwiches.

Yes. And if you’re not a fan of egg salad, you can also go with ham and Cheeze Whiz.

13. Cape Bretoners will ask you where you’re from. When you say America, and we don’t immediately respond, it’s not because we don’t trust you. It’s because we honestly don’t know how to react to the situation.

And the reason that we don’t know how to react is because we can talk about pretty much any answer that you could give if it’s a location within Canada. As long as we’ve cracked the general geographical location we can get a conversation going based on whatever we happen to know about the area because we know at least a little bit about every possible area. But the US? It’s not that we’re ignorant, we just don’t pay as much attention. Ya’ll have way too many states. It gets too confusing trying to remember which ones are where and known for what.

14. Don’t be surprised when the midget hockey 50/50 clears $50,000. All the best fundraisers on the island are thinly veiled forms of gambling.

Thinly-veiled may be overstating it. Completely transparent sounds closer to the truth. Also, $50,000? Psh…that’s nuthin’.

15. If you’re sober when The Mull River Shuffle starts, you’re doing it wrong.

SO wrong. An alternative of this is that if the Mull River Shuffle starts and multiple people are sober, that particular DJ may never work in the business again.

16. We don’t drink Bloody Marys here. We drink Caesars, which is a Bloody Mary made with clam juice. Trust me, the clams make it better.

I can neither confirm nor deny this particular statement because I don’t think I’ve ever had either version, but that’s because I’m not a fan of drinking tomato juice. Bleck.

17. If you come here and want Mexican food, you’re going to have to make it yourself… and invite me over. Margaritas would be nice too.

Yeah, the closest thing we have to Mexican food is Taco Bell, and I think we all know that there’s nothing even remotely Mexican about Taco Bell. We’ve got some damn good cooks on the island though, so give us a recipe and I guarantee we’ll be able to whip it up in a jiffy.

18. A Cape Breton Standoff is when two people hold the door for each other at Tim Horton’s. It’s way better than a Mexican standoff, where everyone gets shot.

Addendum: if we hold a door for you and you pass through it without saying “thank you”, you’ve been judged and found wanting and no witness of the event will ever properly forgive you for as long as you live.

19. Take your shoes off when you when you come into the house. This isn’t a barn.

Do people in other parts of the world actually wear shoes in the house? And if so, what the hell is wrong with you people? Do you not realize that I have to vacuum and mop up after you and your inconsiderate loafers? If your feet are cold there are at least half a dozen pairs of slippers in every Cape Breton house.

20. We have parties in the kitchen because it’s closer to the fridge.

True facts. You know what’s in the fridge? Beer and food, which are the only two 100% necessary components of any Cape Breton Kitchen Party.

21. Cape Breton goodbyes last at least an hour. Plan accordingly.

Yes. Saying, “Well, I must be off,” is code for, “Okay, I’ve only got about 60-70 minutes before I absolutely need to be out of here, so get out any stories that you’ve been keeping in until the last minute because I’m starting the slow backward shuffle toward the door now.”

22. We’re all cousins here. Please come. We need a bigger gene pool.

This one sounds worse than it really is, but there’s definitely a grain of truth in there. For comparison purposes, there are approximately 145,000 people living on the island right now, and I alone have something like 40 cousins. That’s one hell of a ratio.

So what do you guys think? Does that clarify things a bit for you? Anything else you’d like to know? I’m more than happy to share, because if there’s one thing all Cape Bretonners have in common, it’s that we’re more than happy to talk about Cape Breton.

Doctor Knows Best…But Not Necessarily

Memoir Mondays

What are you experiences with doctors?

When I was a kid, up to when I was a teenager, I had the same general practitioner as my mother. First it was a doctor who was well-meaning but occasionally a little scatterbrained (he once gave me an antibiotic that I’m allergic to and I reportedly got one hell of a rash), but I barely remember him because we switched doctors before I’d had too many reasons to visit one. The second guy was pretty great, to be honest. He was the type of doctor that figured a lot of things were best solved via exercise and proper eating, but he was also intelligent enough to understand that sometimes there actually is something wrong with you that requires drugs. I liked him a lot.

When I moved for my first post-university job, I didn’t have a doctor at first because they’re not easy to find in Nova Scotia (too few of them to be able to handle the aging population, never mind the rest of us poor schmucks). Luckily, the paper mill had a doctor who came right onto site once a week to allow us the chance to see someone if required. I spoke to him a few times throughout my time at the mill, although it was mostly just for simple stuff like a common cold or needing my birth control refilled.

However, eventually, I went to this particular doctor with a couple of complaints, and it mostly went downhill from there. I had a short list of things that had been bothering me, and without pretty much any preamble at all he concluded that I was depressed and handed me a prescription for antidepressants. I was a bit shocked, to be sure. First off, this guy is a general practitioner, not a psychiatrist, so the fact that he came to the conclusion of “depression” after a five minute discussion was more than a little surprisingly. Not to mention the fact that I was pretty certain myself that I was not depressed. I had bad days, sure, and there were the few things that I was complaining about, but “depressed” seemed like a major overreaction to me. I tried out the antidepressants anyway, because at the time I figured what could it hurt, but I didn’t find they had any kind of reaction what-so-ever, which helped cement my belief that I had never actually been depressed in the first place. Soon after I was planning on trying for a baby, so I just stopped taking the meds and didn’t think of them again.

After my daughter was born I had another frustrating run-in with that same doctor. At about four or five months old she had become constipated, which is always a big concern for new parents. After a few days had passed I brought her in to see the doctor and after confirming that she wasn’t apparently in any kind of pain or anything he told me to “just give her some prune juice”. A few days after that I brought her in again because she still hadn’t gone and he repeated the advice without barely even looking at her. The third time I brought her in it had been over a week since she’d gone and I was justifiably getting very concerned. He told me the same damn thing. I actually almost lost my mind and practically screamed, “She won’t swallow the goddamn prune juice, so what f*%ing good is it?!”

(P.S. She did eventually go on her own, in the middle of a Shoppers Drug Mart over half an hour drive from home, but that’s another story.)

Eventually I began traveling out West for work, and with that came a whole new team of medical staff because each oil sands site has it’s own med center in case of emergencies and the like. While at a job in Cold Lake I developed a bad cough and took myself up to the med center. The guy who saw me told me that I’d probably developed it as part of a cold, that it was viral, and that I’d just have to wait for it to go away on its own. This was a little frustrating since the major part of my job was talking on a radio to the rest of the crew, but I figured there was nothing for it. By a few days later I had all but lost my voice – I had to practically scream into the radio in order for anyone to make me out – and I began coughing so hard that I twice had to sprint to the bathroom because I was starting to gag and almost threw up all over the control panel. When I returned to the med center I saw a different doc, and this one was aghast at how horrible my throat looked. She told me it was basically raw, was definitely bacterial, and that there was no way it would have gotten better without a round of antibiotics. The first guy is lucky he’d gone on his days off because I was ready, willing, and able to murder him.

Around the same time as that fiasco, I’d begun to develop my stomach problems and anxiety. I’d always had minor stomach problems, but they’d begun to grow exponentially as a result of the anxiety, which was growing exponentially as a result of the travel situation for my job. Our camp was an hour (one way) away from the site, and the bus they provided us with was this crappy refurbished school bus…in other words, no toilet. I spent two hours a day on a bus, surrounded by about forty coworkers (ALL male), without access to a toilet. And it wasn’t as though we could just stop any time I needed to…about five minutes down the road from the site was a gas station, and from then on it was 50 minutes of wide open fields. There were barely even any trees on that drive, never mind somewhere with a restroom where I could get the bus driver to stop. So I started developing this major panic-attack reaction to the bus. Whenever I knew I was going to have to get on it, I’d wind up running to the bathroom three or four times, only to sit my ass on the bus and immediately feel like my innards were just going to come pouring out of me. I did this every day, twice a day. Sometimes, when we were sitting in the bus line waiting to leave at the end of the day, I’d actually have to get up, run off the bus, sprint to the nearest building, and then try to move as quickly as possible to make sure I got back before it was our bus’s turn to leave. Eventually my worst fears came true and I actually did have to ask the bus driver to stop in the middle of the road in the middle of the drive because there was simply no way I was going to make it back to the camp. I was extremely lucky that we just so happened to be right outside some of the only trees on the entire drive, so it wasn’t nearly as mortifying as it could have been, but believe me when I say it was still pretty mortifying.

After that incident I went to see my GP again – the same antidepressant-and-prune-juice guy and explained the situation and how my guts had been reacting as of late. The main thing he told me? “Well, you’ve clearly got IBS, and it’s just something you have to learn how to deal with. Don’t worry, I’m sure the bus driver will stop for you whenever you need to.”

Yeah…sure. Never mind that the overwhelming majority of that drive is wide open field without so much as a road sign to hide behind. Never mind the humiliation of a bus full of coworkers knowing exactly what’s going on. Never mind the fact that, a few months later, it would pitch black during those bus rides and we were driving through bear country. Yeah, never mind all of that.

I had a similarly tear-jerking situation when I went to see a gastroenterologist about these same stomach issues. After extensive testing he concluded that there was physically nothing at all wrong with me and that my problem was that I was panicking myself into stomach issues, and that I should just learn to calm the hell down. It’s really quite amazing that I managed to step out of that particular meeting without blood on my fists.

Since then I did manage to get some anxiety medication out of my GP, although in the end I found it did me more bad than good (ironically, it seemed to be negatively affecting my digestion), and I’ve had several smaller annoying run-ins with different doctors in the outpatients department at our local hospital. Long story short, one of them scolded me for not blowing my nose enough when I got a sinus infection (at the time my nose wasn’t stuffed, so what the hell was I supposed to be blowing?), and three separate doctors all tried to give me antibiotics that I’m allergic to, despite the respective triage nurses always being careful to write that info in the admissions forms. I’ve come to the conclusion that all the doctors at that particular hospital have gotten together and are actively plotting my death.

So, you see, over the years I haven’t had the greatest luck with doctors. I was very lucky during childbirth…although none of the regular doctors were available at the time I ended up getting one who really knew what she was talking about and was very skilled with the forceps, which prevented me ending up with a Cesarean section…but that was the exception to the rule of “try to screw over Tracey as much as possible and/or make her cry tears of pain and rage”.

So you might understand why I’m not particularly looking forward to the appointment I have with my GP later today. See, lately I seem to be like a strange science experiment, ridiculously prone to infections. Since August I’ve had eight of them; four different types, with two of them being recurring. Antibiotics help, of course, but they come with their own sets of problems and shouldn’t be overused due to the possibility of developing antibiotic resistance. So the short version is that I’ve got to figure out why I keep getting infections so that I can stop them instead of just constantly treating them. And that’s a conversation I have a bad feeling about, since antidepressant-and-prune-juice GP loves to jump to conclusions within the first two minutes of the appointment.

The funny (frustrating) thing is that the docs who first diagnosed the first infection I got back in August are really awesome ladies. They work at the med center at my current job on the oil sands, and they’re super smart and super good at what they do…but, unfortunately, the med center isn’t equipped to deal with everything. They have painkillers, stuff to wrap cuts, some equipment for monitoring purposes, and that’s about it. In a real emergency you have to hop in the ambulance and head off to town, which is not something you have the choice to do when it’s non-life-threatening. So, long story short, there’s nothing they can do for me there, other than suggest things that I should do when I get home. The question is, when I go in to my GP today and tell him I need these tests, is he going to go ahead with that or try to shove another totally random prescription at me? I guess we’ll just have to see, but I have to tell you, at this point my hopes aren’t all that high.

Dear Fox Execs: We Don’t Want to Say We Told Ya So, But…Yeah, Yeah We Do

The Deadpool movie is demolishing records and, as one blogger so eloquently put it: “Proving that studio execs have no idea what we really want”. And that fills me with a strange sense of pride. The movie was fought at practically every turn… They said it wouldn’t be popular because Deadpool isn’t a “mainstream” superhero. They said it wouldn’t possibly be able to make any money with a rating that prevents kids from seeing it in theaters. They dramatically restricted its budget because they were certain it wouldn’t be able to make that budget back. And yet…

This extremely telling image brought to you via the Epic Comic Pics Instagram Feed.

Yes, as usual it seems that the studio executives are the only ones who haven’t got the slightest clue what’s really going on. This is a pretty common theme in general, and is the reason why certain types of movies, shows, video games, and books continue to be made over, and over, and over, and over, while truly wonderful, different, original stuff tends to be pushed off to the side with a half-hearted excuse of, “It’s not the same as this, so it’ll never make money.”

It’s a tired old tale, and one I’m sure you’ve heard many times before, but in this case that tale was shaking, shattered, and had its fourth wall demolished multiple times. Lookout, world…Deadpool has made it. XD

And to celebrate this fact, I shot a little video to show off my personal Deadpool collection, and since it’s currently 4:30 in the morning and I’ve got to get dressed and ready for the work bus that leaves in less than an hour, please take that video as a peace offering for the fact that I passed out last night without writing a blog post. ^_~ GO DEADPOOL!

Dear Asshat:

There will be no “Flash Fiction Friday” today because I felt like getting this out of my system. Enjoy!


Dear Asshat on YouTube,

It’s a bit humorous that you appeared on my channel only about a week after my blog post about dealing with people like you on YouTube. Humorous enough, in fact, that I thought I’d go ahead and write this little letter to you to share the mirth with my loyal (and significantly less asshat-ish) followers.

You swooped in on one of my videos like an emotional time bomb, not content to simply rage directly at me, but also intent on spreading shrapnel to my viewers via rude replies on their comments as well. You were quite worked up, it seemed, about my decision to purchase 15 of the GameStop Black Friday Funko Mystery boxes back in November. That’s nothing new; plenty of people got a bit frustrated with the fact that I’d chosen to buy so many of the boxes (despite the fact that, as I’d explained, my particular store STILL had boxes over a month later, so I didn’t exactly keep anyone from managing to get one). However, while some people definitely got upset, defensive, and sometimes even a little mouthy and rude, your comments were a new kind of ridiculous.

You didn’t just get angry at me for buying so many boxes: you called my very character into question in the weirdest way I’ve ever seen. You called me a number of names and slurs and implied, to my complete and utter confusion, that spending so much money on my “stupid hobby” must mean that I get a huge baby bonus or that I’m on welfare. I can’t even begin to explain how stupid that sounds and how hard it made me laugh. Do you understand how things like welfare work? Also, did it never occur to you that, hey, maybe I can afford to spend a lot of money on my “stupid hobby” because I (*SHOCK*) have a good job? I know, totally hard to comprehend, right? Crazy-sauce, even. That totally couldn’t be it. No way.

I got a good chuckle out of your strange and unfounded accusations, and at first I was going to do what I usually do and simply ignore you, because there is clearly no sense in arguing with someone who jumps right from “she spends a lot of money on something frivolous” to “she’s totally on welfare”. But then I noticed that you continued your tirade on the comment threads of several of my more reasonable followers who weren’t being assholes. And in those tirades you implied that I am somehow a bad mother because I (*GASP*) spend some of my money on something that’s not directly related to mothering. THE HORROR. My daughter totally must be traipsing around in soiled hand-me-downs and subsisting on two crackers and a glass of water for each meal because I choose to purchase collectibles on occasion. That’s a totally reasonable jump right there. Excellent detective work, Sherlock.

Ah! Shit! Proof of my complete inability to love and raise a child! Get it away!   GET IT AWAY!

I could have left the comments up; I’m sure that either my husband or some of the followers whose comment threads you raped would have gotten pissed of to rip you a new one. Or I could have ripped you a new one myself, because lord knows you certainly deserve it for slinging unwarranted insults at someone you know nothing about. But you know what? It’s not worth it. It’s not worth letting the comment section of my video devolve into a bar-room brawl over this, because your poor attitude and strange, unreasonable slights show me that you’re clearly an emotional wreck who needed to take out a great deal of frustration and anger on a total stranger.

So, congratulations! You’re the first person to ever have not only one, but a large number of comments deleted from my YouTube channel, and if you feel like dropping by again I’ll be ready and waiting to report you for abuse. Cheers! And here’s hoping that you manage to find the anger management course that you so desperately seem to need.

Love and kisses,
Your Friendly Neighborhood “Stupid Bitch”

What Makes Me Anxious, and What I Do About It

Memoir Mondays

I’ve spoken on this blog before about anxiety, what it feels like, how difficult it can be to deal with – and I’ll continue to talk about it on a regular basis because those with anxiety need to be supportive of each other, and those who without it need to understand that it is not as simple as just flicking a switch in your brain and turning anxiety off.

Today I want to talk about something that has significantly helped me with my anxiety, but to understand best I’d like to first explain precisely what it is that makes me anxious.

Approximately a year and a half after my daughter was born, I developed very sudden, surprising, and completely random gastrointestinal issues. This would have been a distressing development under any circumstances, but my personal situation added its own set of extra difficulties. You see, I work in the Alberta oil sands. That means that I hop a plane at home (in Nova Scotia), fly most of the way across the country, and both live and work in the middle of nowhere for two weeks at a time. The particular job that I was on at the beginning of this story required residency at a work camp, and this particular camp is a sprawling site consisting of three buildings that share almost sixty three-story wings. When you check in you receive a card that scans you into your wing and room, but you have no access to any other wing, either from inside or outside the building. So, the important bit of information to take away here is that if you’re walking around the outside perimeter of this camp there is exactly one wing-door that you can unlock to get inside, plus the main entrances to each building (three doors) and the main hallway access doors for each building (three more doors). Seven doors may seem like plenty, but six of these doors are grouped together in roughly the same place, and the outer perimeter of the camp is almost one-and-a-half miles. So, what I’m getting at here is that if you’re walking around the buildings there are large gaps of space during which you’re half a mile or more away from a door you can open – more if you’re in a wing for which the door is near that grouping of main doors. None of this ever occurred to me until the day my internal organs first began to torture me. I’d been jogging around the perimeter in the mornings, trying to get my pre-pregnancy body back, when the need to get to a bathroom hit me like a sack of bricks right to the guts.

The first time it happened I was lucky enough to have come around to my own wing. The second time I was fairly close to one of the main entrances and managed to dash to it. But this phenomenon kept happening, almost every time I went out, and some of the time I was a very long distance away from where I could escape to a bathroom. There were some close calls. Eventually I found myself regularly not going out for my jobs because the slightest tummy twitch would have me worrying that I was going to have another episode. Soon I’d quit running all together because I was simply too scared to take the chance, and before I knew it I’d developed a panic-attack-like reaction to being too far away from a bathroom.

I survived for a while by simply avoiding situations that took me too far away, but soon enough my job changed and that’s when the anxiety really began. At my new job the camp and the site were an hour’s drive away from each other, and our transportation to and from was on an old, refurbished school bus. If you’re not understanding quite yet I’ll just go ahead and spell it out for you: for my fourteen-day shift I would have to spend two hours a day on a bus with no bathroom.

To say that I suffered for months is playing it down. I would run to the bathroom at least three or four times every morning before being able to coax myself onto the bus. In the evenings I’d have to run off the bus at least once before it could pull away to take us back. And my anxiety grew and grew because it wasn’t as though I was just being jumpy and worried…I actually needed all those bathroom runs. I would get anxious about needing a bathroom when I couldn’t have one, and the anxiety would twist my guts into a knot, making me need a bathroom. It became a self-fulfilling prophecy in which I could no longer tell if the horror in my body was completely random (as it had been when I was running around camp) or if it was actually caused by the anxiety itself. The fact that I couldn’t tell made it even worse because I could sometimes manage to stave off the anxiety-gut-twists, but if they were real-gut-twists I was only prolonging the inevitable and making it worse.

And for those of you who are thinking that I could just ask the bus driver to stop should needs be, that wasn’t exactly an option. That hour-long drive was through open plains; no commercial buildings, no residences, no trees, even. Just wide, open field. I eventually did have to ask the bus driver to stop once during an absolute, five-alarm emergency, and I was extremely fortunate that we just happened to be passing by a farm, which was one of the only places in those 100 or so kilometers that had some trees. Regardless, it was one of the most mortifying moments of my life. Try to imagine, if you will, having to scream at a bus driver to stop so that you could sprint like a crazy-person into the woods while fifty-or-so of your coworkers look on in complete confusion. I got no grief for it, and there was a lot of sympathy afterwards (understandable, considering I probably looked like a kicked puppy when I returned to the bus), but I definitely felt like curling up in a corner and dying. And another self-fulfilling prophecy came to pass, because now every time I got on the bus while trying to convince myself, “It’s going to be okay, it’s going to be okay,” I would inadvertently imagine that moment of having to walk back out of the woods and onto the bus, and a second little voice in my head would scream, “But what if it’s not?! Sometimes it’s not! This could be one of those times when it’s not!!!”

The anxiety just got worse and worse after that. It began to leech into my home life and I’d start to panic during pretty much any kind of travel. My husband and I taking a shopping trip? I’d be pulling into the nearest Tim Hortons after only fifteen minutes on the road. My father driving the half-hour distance to the airport? I’d be gulping down Immodium beforehand and I’d practically run out of the car when we got there. Even just driving my daughter to kindergarten in the morning – a five-minute drive at most – would prompt me to run to the bathroom two or three times before we could even get out of the house. I’d try to talk myself down, try to convince myself that neither my husband, nor my father, nor my toddler could care less if the worst were to happen, but the part of my mind that had become trapped within the spiral of anxiety refused to accept that as a reasonable argument. By the time my job changed again the anxiety related to travel was so deeply rooted that I would begin to have a panic attack at even the thought of getting on a bus. That’s when I knew that I really had a problem because my new job had buses with washrooms, but that didn’t matter anymore. Just looking at a bus would fill me with dread and make my guts twist in knots.

And now we get to the upside, fortunately. See, I tried a number of things to work myself through the anxiety. I tried listening to classical music and I tried listening to dragon rock to distract myself – both helped a little bit for a little while, but then seemed to gradually lose their power. I tried distracting myself with books or handheld games, but that would just marry motion sickness into the situation. I tried drugs prescribed to me for both stomach spasms and anxiety, but even after the dosages had been increased several times I never felt any different after taking them.

Then, one day, thanks to a Fab Fit Fun subscription box, I received a three-month trial gift card for something called Headspace, and when I looked into it I learned that it’s an app that teaches you how to meditate. I thought it sounded kind of lame at first, but then I read a ton of excellent reviews and figured, hey…three months free…may as well give it a try.

Those three months totally changed my outlook. First of all, Headspace doesn’t just teach you “how to meditate”. It starts off by giving you a basic breakdown of where to start, and then goes on to provide you with a plethora of specialized packs that aim at everything from controlling anxiety to bolstering creativity. There are packs to help you sleep better, packs to help you hone your focus, and packs to soften stress. There are guided and unguided meditations and special single meditations to listen to while you’re walking, cooking, commuting, or to help you deal with the fear of flying. There are even three special 3-minute “S.O.S” meditations designed to calm you down when you’re having a complete meltdown.

Each meditation is read by Headspace founder, Andy, and there’s something about his reading that immediately helps to keep me calm. He has a friendly, gentle, non-judgmental tone, and his meditations are designed with the understanding that meditation is actually quite difficult to learn. He explains things in layman’s terms, without being patronizing. He sounds like a good friend who genuinely wants you to get this right.

I ripped through the “Basics” meditations as quickly as I could, eager to move on to the “Anxiety” pack, which was calling my name. I listened to one “Anxiety” file every morning and sometimes another in the evening. I learned how to breath properly, how to clear my mind, and how to allow the anxiety to wash over me, just another thought coming and going. And on the days when I just didn’t think that I was going to be able to drag myself out to the bus, the “S.O.S.” meditations got me out there.

Look, here’s the thing… I won’t say that Headspace has gotten rid of my anxiety, and I won’t say that it’s a cure-all for what ails you, and I definitely won’t claim that it will work for everyone because that would be a foolish assumption. But when you’re suffering from something like anxiety, and it’s affecting both your home and work lives, you definitely want to try every last option, and this is just another one. It has helped me in spades, and although there is a monthly fee to be able to access anything other than the “Basics” pack, if it can help you deal with something that even most doctors don’t really understand, I definitely say that it’s worth it. So why not give it a try? You can download the app (or visit the website) for free at any time and at least try out the 10-day “Basics” to learn a bit about breathing and clearing  your mind. And who knows? Maybe that’s all you’ll need…or maybe you’ll crave the option to listen to all the meditations…or maybe you won’t like it at all. Either way, I wanted to share the option because it has worked so well for me.

Thanks for listening, everyone. Happy meditating. 🙂

On Dealing With The Dreaded YouTube Comment Section

About a year and a half ago I first discovered subscription boxes – monthly subscriptions in which you pay a fee and get a box full of goodies in the mail, often themed in some way and/or aimed at a certain type of people (ie. “Marvel Collector Corps” is designed for people who love Marvel stuff and are fans of Funko’s collectibles). I fell in love with the idea, and while looking into some of them I discovered “unboxing videos”, which are exactly what they sound like: someone gets their subscription box, records as they open it, and uploads it to YouTube. To the outsider it sounds absolutely ridiculous, but as with the trend of game-lovers watching videos of other gamers gaming, it’s a popular type of video that doesn’t seem to be going away any time soon.

After subscribing to a few boxes I decided to try making some videos of my own. I thought it sounded like fun, and at the time I thought that it would be a boon to my social network, possibly help me sell a few books. Things didn’t really go that way at all – the YouTube channel turned out to be the most popular aspect of my network, but that popularity didn’t spring back in the other direction – but it was a lot of fun, and so I’ve stuck with it for over a year and a half now and have no intention of stopping any time soon.

Here’s the thing though… There’s a lot of fun to be had on YouTube, and I’ve collected some pretty awesome followers and met some fellow collectors who are tons of fun to talk to, but there’s also something else on YouTube (and the internet in general) that isn’t so great: the assholes. And I use the profanity because that’s all they really are: assholes who have nothing better to do with their time than to torment people they don’t even know. It’s a plague that isn’t going to go away any time soon, and if you’re going to be in the YouTube game (or any game that really puts you out there on the internet), you’ve got to accept that sooner or later you’re going to have to deal with them.

Me, personally, I’ve got a three-step system, and it goes thusly:

Step One: Give yourself time to think and make sure that you’re not actually overreacting to something innocent.

The other day I got a comment on one of my videos that, at first glance, looked like a grammatical failure to randomly insult me:

your fat just walks away”

I saw the comment pop up on my phone and my first thought was, okay, we’ve got an ass here; some loser with no grasp on the English language is trying to tell me that I’m fat, and as a result he’s just walking away from my channel. That was my first impression, and I was pretty sure of myself for about the first twenty minutes. But then I started to think about it and something about the structure of the sentence felt very familiar to me. It niggled away at my mind until finally it came to me like a slap upside the head.

It’s a Doctor Who quote. In an episode of Doctor Who there is a company that claims their pill will melt the fat off your body nightly, but what really happens is that your fat is used to incubate little white creatures called Adipose, which then detach themselves from your body while you sleep and make their way back to the company headquarters. The company’s motto is “Your fat just walks away”.

In that particular video I had shown the Adipose Funko Pop I had gotten in my most recent Pop shopping haul. It was a video from several months ago, so that’s why I didn’t think of it right away; I actually had re-watch the video to ensure that it was, in fact, the one with the Adipose in it.

Now it all made perfect sense. This was just another Doctor Who fan, quoting an episode that was related to something I’d shown in my video. Completely and totally innocent, and yet, if I’d been overly emotional and taken immediately to the comment section to fight back against what I’d initially perceived as a slight against me, I would have ended up looking like the ass. This is one reason why it’s always important to step back and let yourself breathe before reacting to something: you may realize later that you’ve completely misconstrued the situation.

Step Two: Kill them with kindness and/or completely rational discussion.

When you’re absolutely sure that someone has slighted you, or is calling you out, or otherwise being a complete jackass to you, first try responding to them in a completely rational way that disarms the situation.

For example, I had one YouTube user feel the need to comment on one of my videos to let me know “your voice is so annoying”. I got a laugh out of it first, thinking that if it was so annoying surely he would have just exited the video instead of taking time out of his own life to let me know that I’m not his cup of tea. And so I gave him a perfectly reasonable and rational response: “You’re perfectly welcome not to listen to it. Cheers!”

This particular user chose not to continue the conversation, which is preferable but also fairly rare. So let’s look at a different example.

In one video I talked about the GameStop Black Friday Funko Mystery Box sale, in which GameStop sold special mystery boxes full of Funko collectibles, each one containing a special exclusive Funko Pop. I (and a rather large portion of North America) were extremely frustrated with this event because due to distribution errors and a lot of dishonesty on the part of store employees, their “1 in 5 chance” claims did not hold water. I personally purchased 15 boxes, and 9 of those boxes had the same character, which is extraordinarily improbable. On that video I got several comments from angry collectors basically insinuating that I deserved what I’d gotten because I was some greedy harpy who’d gone into the store, snatched up all the boxes, and kept anyone else from getting any. To these types of commenters I gave calm, rational details about the nature of my purchases: I’d bought 5 boxes (which was the store limit) and my husband bought 5. Several hours later, near the end of the day when lots of people had gotten a chance to purchase theirs, we returned to the store, realized they still had tons, and bought 5 more. And just for the record, we returned to that same store several weeks later and they still had boxes left, so I hardly screwed the system and kept others from enjoying it.

For my rationale I got two different kinds of responses. I received several apologies from people who thought better of themselves and my explanation and went on to have nice, nerdy conversations with me. And I received a few responses from people who more or less told me to shove it up my ass and proceeded to insult me further. These types of people lead me to…

Step Three: Cut your losses and thus cut their power.

I know that people can get extremely emotional, and we’re all prone to look like morons on the internet when we’re emotional. That’s why I have ‘Step Two’: I like to give everyone the chance to turn around and change their mind and possible even become a fan. However, as has been said by many nerds over the years: “Everybody gets one.” If I’m kind and calm to you, if I give you a perfectly reasonable and rational response to your rudeness, and you continue to come at me like a raging bull, the door is now closed.

As in with the example above, I had a few people who responded to my explanation of the Mystery Box purchase process with further aggressive attitudes, and those people have yet to receive any further response from me. If they post further rude comments, those will receive no further response from me. Even if they pepper every one of my videos with cruel insults and angry rants, they will receive no further response from me.

Because the truth, the real truth of it, is that people like that are just looking to work you up; it becomes less about actually having some kind of issue that they want to express, and much more about seeing how much they can frustrate you, whether or not they can make you break down. They want to draw you into a battle, make you the emotional one, turn you into a train wreck so that everyone can see you’re actually the total mess they said you are. And now they have power over you. You’ve lost control, and you can’t get it back because you’ve proven to them that they can push the right buttons and that if they torment you long enough you’ll eventually snap and give them the exact reaction they’re looking for.

But cut the entire process at its source, and you’ve cut off their power. They want the response; the greatest counterattack you can perform is to not give it to them.

Some YouTubers (and bloggers, and other content creators) will even go to the point of deleting these types of comments all together. I personally think that this is another form of defeat. Although you haven’t engaged directly, you’ve shown the offender that they bothered you enough for you to take the time to remove their words from your space, and chances are that this will simply spurn them on to make even more nasty comments. So I, myself, leave those comments alone. Some may say they hurt the mood of the channel/post/whatever, but personally, the way I look at it is that when someone says something nasty to me, all the followers who actually enjoy my channel see that comment and think, “Wow, that person is a douche.” And just imagining that makes me feel vindicated.


It can definitely be a difficult thing for some people to deal with assholes on the internet, but I’ve long since realized that, while I quite enjoy knowing that people enjoy my channel, I couldn’t give less of a damn about what some random jackass stranger on the internet has to say about me. There are a hell-of-a-lot more important things to be going on with in life.

8-bit Teeth, Red-haired Heroes, and a Mother-Gamer’s Pride


(Note: the idea for this post was given to me by Miss Alexandra from Man Crates. Thanks Alex!)

This is going to be one of the oldest-sounding things that I’ve ever said, but…kids today have no idea what it’s like to grow up alongside the progression of video games. My daughter, for instance, is five years old and for her entire life so far she’s always been around latest-gen games. She’s watched mommy and daddy fight extremely realistic monsters, listened to immaculately-voiced characters have deep, emotional conversations, and awed at light shows that could shame Hollywood. She even plays games of her own, leading Disney, Marvel, and Star Wars characters through amazingly designed worlds that you can change and mold to your liking.

But she’ll never know what it was like to first experience video game graphics jumping from 8 to 16 bits. She’ll never have the giddy joy of sneaking peaks at Nintendo Power magazines in the drug store in order to learn how to perform special moves. She’ll (likely) never experience the ups and downs of picking up a random game at the local rental place, having absolutely no idea what it’s going to be like because none of your immediate friends have played it and internet reviews don’t exist yet.

And that’s all fine, because I’m certain my daughter will have plenty of her own experiences that will go way over my head, but it still makes me almost sad because the things I’ve mentioned were enormous parts of my childhood.

I was born at the perfect time to really grow up with video games as a home entertainment. When I was just a couple of years old my parents were still at the right age to hear about the Atari 2600 home video game console and think that it would be a really neat thing to have in the house. We had our fair share of games, and all three of us played. My mom’s favorite was Mouse Trap, which was a PacMan clone using mice as the ghosts and a cat as PacMan. My dad would get super-frustrated with Pitfall because he just couldn’t ever seem to time his jumps properly. And me? Well, at the tender age of five-ish, my favorite game was the ridiculously-conceived Plaque Attack. It was a Space Invaders clone, but instead of attacking legions of aliens, fast food items such as burgers, fries, and soda would move toward waiting rows of teeth, and instead of the defender of the Earth, you played as a squirting tube of toothpaste.

Tell me this isn’t one of the most ridiculous things you’ve ever seen.

Looking back at it now, that game seems outrageously silly, but when I was a kid I absolutely loved it and I would play it again today if I had it. I can fondly remember sitting on my parents’ bed with that little joystick controller, blasting globs of toothpaste at cakes and candies in order to protect my rows of 8-bit pearly whites. It was great, foolish fun. It wasn’t my whole life by any means, but it was definitely a welcome amusement to have at my disposal.

At some point – I don’t remember the exact age, but I think I may have been six or so – my parents picked up a Nintendo Entertainment System for Christmas and my horizons were broadened. I was introduced to Mario for the first time, and my cousins (who also had NES consoles) and I spent hours trying to hunt down that damn princess. There was also Duck Hunt, which was a crazy-amazing innovation with its fancy, neon-orange light gun. That was definitely one of my favorites in the early days, although I loathed the clay shooter side-game and would often resort to pressing my gun right up against the TV screen in order to hit the damn disks. I also got the biggest kick out of the Power Pad when my cousin first got his, although it didn’t take long for us to realize that you could just get down on the floor and use your hands to hit the buttons rather than dance around on it as Nintendo had intended.

You’d think they’d have learned way back then that people don’t want to exercise while they’re gaming.

There’s no doubt that the Atari and the NES were enormous parts of my childhood, but at that age I wouldn’t have described myself as a “gamer”. The games were simply among my toys, and I didn’t spend any more time on them than I did on Play Doh, Legos, Barbie dolls, or, you know…playing outside.

That all changed when I was somewhere around eight- or nine-years-old and my parents got me a Super Nintendo Entertainment System for Christmas. It was a huge deal right off the bat because the 16-bit graphics looked outstanding compared to the previous games I’d played. It was hard to believe that such amazing graphics were even possible.

Shown: The most realistic-damn thing I’d ever seen.

And I won’t say that I didn’t play the HELL out of Super Mario World (because I did), and I definitely had something of an obsession with a little thing called Uniracers, but if I’m totally honest with myself the game that I would say turned me into a gamer was Chrono Trigger. My best friend had come across it in one of the local rental places and told me that it was amazing, so I practically begged my father to go so we could see if it was in (in those days each shop was lucky to have one copy of each video game). I was in luck that day, and the bright red, spiky hair of the protagonist on the cover immediately appealed to me. It looked like an anime cartoon, which was also something I was getting into at the time, and that definitely cemented my resolution to rent it and get the heck home immediately.


I ran home with my rented treasure and popped it in the machine, practically vibrating to see what it was all about, why my friend had praised it so, and soon I was being treated to a Millennial Fair. I ran around with the red-headed hero (Crono), ringing bells on the strength game, guessing winners for the races, beating up a training robot, and dancing with people dressed as cavemen, and it was a blast. I totally understood what my friend had been talking about and I eagerly ran around that fair for about two hours, and which point I finally discovered that, yeah…there was actually a hell of a lot more to this game.

Yeah, it’s true, for a good two hours I honestly believed that the Millennial Fair opening of the game was the game. So when another character accidentally opened a time portal and disappeared into the past, prompting my red-haired hero to follow, I was flabbergasted. There was an adventure to play too! Oh, and what an adventure it was, full of time travel, a looming apocalypse, hidden magic, futuristic robots, and actual death…a character in a video game dying. I’d never seen the like before that.

I can’t even explain to you how many hours I sunk into that game. My best friend and I spent countless pocket change on renting it until my father finally decided that it was economically sound to just buy a copy, and that quadrupled my gameplay, easily. I was determined to find every hidden item, defeat every tiny side quest, and unlock each of the multiple endings (which was something else I’d never seen before). And remember, this was before you could just look everything up on the Internet. I had to actually search for all those items, and defeat the end boss dozens of times in hopes that I might have completed the right sequence of events to get a new ending.

One of the most heartbreaking moments of my childhood was when I came home from school one day and flipped on Chrono Trigger. I’d been sinking hours and hours into an overachieving attempt to raise all seven playable characters up to the highest level (100, which was depicted by two stars), and I was getting fairly close. I had two of the characters complete and the rest were in the 80’s and 90’s. But when I turned the game on, the screen didn’t load up with that oh-so-familiar title screen. Oh no…what I got was a black screen with a few angry-looking bits of digital lightning flashing across it. I immediately switched the SNES off and grabbed at the game to find that it hadn’t been seated properly. Someone had removed it and not pressed it all the way back down into the system. I pressed it down firmly now, and literally held my breath as I switched the system back on… But the damage had been done. The game had been erased. I had three blank save slots staring at me, mocking me, mocking the countless days I’d spent trying to raise those characters’ levels. I’m not proud. I seriously almost burst into tears.

As it turned out, my mother had removed the game in order to test a used game she and my father had recently picked up for me for Christmas: one Final Fantasy III (VI, in Japan), which just barely beats out Chrono Trigger as my favorite game of all time. I forgave her, because ohmygodFinalFantasyIII, but I still to this day lament the fact that I never got all seven characters to the maximum level. Later in life I even picked up the remastered Nintendo DS version of the game, but as an adult I’ve never had the time or inclination required to undertake so much level-grinding again.

Still, I definitely credit Chrono Trigger with truly turning me into a “gamer”. It was the game that awakened a desire to do everything, to see everything, to experience ever tiny detail that the programmers had hidden within. To this day, although I’ve enjoyed plenty of games since the SNES, all my favorite games are from that console: Chrono Trigger, Final Fantasy III, Breath of Fire II, Illusion of Gaia, Secret of Mana… You could say that I became a bit of an RPG-maniac.

These days I don’t have nearly as much time for games, and I tend to choose ones that can be completed much quicker than the 20+-hour sagas I played as a kid. But that’s okay because I hold the memory of first playing those games deep down among some of the most wonderful memories of my childhood. And in the meantime, I’m busy raising a new gamer to make memories with her favorite games. 🙂