My Trip To Canada [Life]

If any of you follow me on Twitter, I’m sure you saw a couple of tweets from me at the beginning of the month about me being away. My blog was still running as scheduled, but I wasn’t reading or commenting on anyone else’s blogs. I wasn’t answering comments on this blog and I was barely on social media.

I was in Canada for EGLX – Enthusiast Gaming Live Expo – for my other blog, Double Jump, and also for myself.

My sister Kris and I have been wanting to go to a gaming convention or expo for a really long time now. Pretty much all of the YouTube gamers we watch was going to be there. They ran a couple of panels and put on a show. This was an opportunity we knew we couldn’t pass up.

I don’t do anything spontaneous. I’m an organized person, I have slight OCD, and I need to have a plan for the day, the week, the future, everything. I know plans change and things come up and I’m a pretty flexible person, but I’ll admit there have been a few situations where I’ve been agitated or upset because something didn’t go as I planned.

Being spontaneous is a good thing, shaking things up is a good thing. But sometimes my brain doesn’t think so.

I haven’t been on an airplane since I was 3. I don’t remember it and just tell people I’ve never flown before. So many things have changed since then anyway. I also have never been out of the country. I’ve never taken a trip without my parents. Yes, I’m 24, but I still need my mom and dad.

So you can imagine my reaction when Kris burst into our office one day and said, “By the way, we’re going to Canada!”

I should also mention I’ve never really planned a vacation either. I mean, I have, but with my parent’s help or my aunt and uncle’s help from the times we’ve gone to Disney with them.

Kris and I had to figure out how to book a flight, get our passports, figure out money and currency exchange, find our way around the airport, decide how to get from the airport to the hotel, the hotel to the convention center, and back again. It’s a lot. I knew it was going to be a lot but it’s one of those things you don’t realize how much work it is until you actually do it yourself.

But I did it. Kris and I did it.

Canada EGLX | Video Games | Gaming | Travel | RachelPoli.com

Why am I explaining all of this even though this trip was mainly for my video game blog? Well, I wanted to explain that we’re capable of doing much more than we think. This trip was a huge eye-opener for me.

I have generalized anxiety disorder. I won’t go into too much detail about it. Maybe someday I will, but for now, I’ll leave you with this: some days I do well, other days it kills me.

Being on an airplane, for example, flares up my anxiety. I know a lot of people get like this with flying, so it’s pretty common.

I’m going to Disney in April where I will have to go on an airplane. The last few times I’ve gone, we’ve driven down there. I’ve been panicking and sometimes dreading going to Disney, the happiest place on earth because I need to go on an airplane.

What if the plane crashes? What if we, for some reason, can’t get home? What if I get claustrophobic? What if I have an anxiety attack in the middle of the flight? What if I have to go to the bathroom or start to feel sick? What if someone else on the plane gets sick?

There’s always that “what if” for everything in life, but now I know what to expect. Now I’m actually excited to go.

I had a great time on the plane. The flight was only an hour and a half and it went by so fast. Yes, I did have an anxiety pill, but I honestly don’t know if I really needed it. I got cookies and apple juice on the flight which was really good. I watched the map and followed where the plane was and where it was going on the way there. On the way back I watched Mrs. Doubtfire and had pretzels and apple juice.

On the way to Canada, I sat in the aisle because I was nervous the window would make me sick. I didn’t want to stare into the abyss to remind me of how high we were. On the way back, I sat by the window and loved watching the plane ascend and descend. I loved seeing the buildings from above. We were also sitting right next to the plane’s wing both ways so that was certainly cool to see as well. I’ve never seen a plane up close before.

I was also nervous about the expo itself. Kris and I were going to be in an unfamiliar place, a large room filled with, what seemed to be, a thousand people. It was crowded. It was loud. There was a lot going on. I don’t do well in those situations.

But I did it. I was fine and I had a good time. Sure, there were some moments I felt claustrophobic, but there were so many things to do and games to play, I was able to keep my mind off it and just focus on the good.

And I did this for three days in a row.

EGLX in Canada | Gaming | Travel | RachelPoli.com

I’ve realized something important about myself while going on that trip. I knew my anxiety was all in my mind, but this proved that it really is just in my mind.

I’ve always wanted to travel but never have because I was afraid to leave my house. I was afraid I’d die on the plane.

It was amazing to see all the art and talent of various people who share a love of video games. It was fantastic to see the YouTubers who have inspired me to do what I do today. (Our hotel room was right next door and across the hall from a couple of them!)

It may seem kind of silly, but even though I’ve wanted to be a writer since I was in elementary school, these YouTubers have changed my life.

A few of them have anxiety and/or depression and talk openly about it which has helped me a lot. Their videos are funny and entertaining that I’ve watched them in the middle of the night a few times when I had too much anxiety and couldn’t sleep. They’re very open, kind, and welcoming to anyone and everyone no matter their race, sexuality, mental health, or anything.

They’re just a group of friends who do what they love for a living and that’s exactly what I’m trying to do – what I am doing.

I can relate to them on so many levels: working from home, doing what I love for a living, my mental health issues, my overall goals for why I do what I do, and more.

I want to inspire people the way they have inspired me. I want to make people laugh. I want to make people feel loved and welcome in this community I’ve been building with my blog (and beyond). I want people to feel safe and comfortable when they read my work or watch my videos (when I get the channel up and running).

I want people to look at me say, “If she can do that, I can do that” just like I’ve done with these YouTubers.

I want to explore the world and before going to Canada I didn’t realize that was a thing I could do. I did it because I wanted to see those YouTubers in person. (And also because Kris was able to pay for me… Thank you, Kris!)

I want to teach myself new things and I have been. I’ve been teaching myself filmmaking and video editing so I can start a YouTube channel for this blog (and also for Double Jump down the road). I’ve been drawing more. I’m not very good, but maybe I’ll get there in time. I want to publish books. I want to create a literary magazine or something similar. I want to create a video game.

That’s not even the half of it. There’s so much I want to do. I want to do it all. Maybe I will, maybe I won’t. But the possibilities are endless and my creativity can go as far as my imagination, which, I’ve come to realize, is pretty endless itself.

Canada seemed to be the first step for me. It opened a new world for me and I came to realize I can do more than what I think I can do.

Maybe someday Double Jump will have its own panel at a convention. No, I don’t want to be rich or famous, but I’d like to make an impact on people’s lives. (As well as make a living off it because… bills.)

Maybe someday my creative works – no matter what form, video, blog, writing, etc. – will inspire and help others.

Of course, I can’t give all the credit to those YouTubers and to the fact I went to Canada. I went to Canada and I do what I do because of the choices I’ve made and the way I’ve decided to spend my time.

I do what I do because there are so many people who visit my blog on a daily basis and actually care about what I have to say.

Canada's EGLX | Gaming | Travel | RachelPoli.com

This is a long post, probably the longest I’ve ever written on this blog. If you’ve read this far and you’re still reading, I applaud you. Thank you for reading this through.

I didn’t mean for this to be so long and corny, but it’s the truth and I felt it needed to be said. I had this realization through my trip and breaking out of my comfort zone, but there was also something else that happened to make me realize this.

The other thing that made me realize all this isn’t a happy story like Canada. It’s gotten me down for quite a while now. Though that’s a story for another day.

I’ll say this though: I’m happy where I am in life. I’m happy with the things I’m doing and the things I’m trying to do. My anxiety holds me back sometimes, but I figure it out. I have a good head on my shoulders (I think so, anyway). I have a good support system with friends and family who love and encourage me to do what I do. I’m a pretty lucky person.

But I guess I’ve rambled enough. Thank you for reading. Thanks for listening. Thanks for being here and taking this journey with me.

Have you ever taken a risk in life? Done something you didn’t think you could? Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around.

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Guy In Real Life by Steve Brezenoff

guy-irl

Title: Guy In Real Life
Author: Steve Brezenoff
Published: 
Balzer & Bray, May 2014
Genre: Young adult
How I got the book: I got it as a gift

Summary:

“Boy and girl collide on a dark street in Saint Paul, Minnesota, at two thirty in the morning: Lesh, who wears black, listens to metal, and plays MMOs; Svetlana, who embroiders her skirts, listens to Bjork and Berlioz, and dungeon masters her own RPG. They should pick themselves up, continue on their way, and never talk to each other again.

But they don’t.

My Review:

rp-first-thoughts

I got this book as a Christmas gift and I was surprised when I first opened it. It’s rare that I receive a book that something thinks I might like. I was excited to try something new and, after reading the blurb, I found it especially interesting because it’s centered around video games, one of my favorite things.

rp-characters

Lesh and Svetlana are the two protagonists. They both had dull personalities and boring home lives. Each one of them kept to themselves most of the time, Lesh really only having one good best friend, Greg, and Svetlana having a small group of friends she role-played with.

I felt as though they were a good choice of protagonists because even though they were “different” from one another and their lives intertwined, they really weren’t different from each other at all. It was interesting to see each of their lives, how they dealt with certain situations, and how they kept one another standing.

rp-plot

This is where my confusion comes in. From the summary, the protagonists bump into each other and end up friends. Cute romance story, right? Well, yes, they bump into each other one night when Lesh is drunk, but that’s about it. They end up sitting together at lunch the next day at school because Svetlana is trying to get away from someone. This is the extent of their friendship/relationship for more than half of the book. They didn’t start really hanging out with one another until there was about 100 pages left or so in the book. They took things very slowly.

In the meanwhile, Lesh creates Svetlana in his MMORPG game and pretends to be her. That was out of left field for me and for a while I thought this book had a deeper meaning to it: Lesh may be struggling with wanting to be a girl. The point is, he doesn’t know what he wants.

While there was a plot, and it was good, weird, but good, I felt as though the summary was misleading. The book was not at all what I had originally thought it would be.

rp-writing-style

Steve Brezenoff has a great way with words. Each chapter alternated (for the most part) between Lesh’s POV and Svetlana’s, as well as Svvetlana’s (Lesh’s gaming character).

However, I felt as though there wasn’t too much of a difference between Lesh and Svetlana. They both had similar personalities and therefore they had the same voice sometimes. They weren’t really unique from one another. I found myself more submerged in Svvetlana’s world than the real characters. But that could just be the gamer in me.

rp-overall

This was a good read. I was excited to try something new and I wasn’t disappointed. The story definitely got weird at times and I think that was because it was out of left field from me. The summary was misleading and the characters could be bland at times. But, if you’re interesting in a boy-meets-girl type of a novel mixed with a little gaming here and there, this is one to try.

Guy In Real Life by Steve Brezenoff gets…
4-stars4 out of 5 stars

Favorite Quote:

“I can’t quite look at her directly, after a quick nod of acknowledgment, because it’s like staring at the sun.” –Steve Brezenoff, Guy In Real Life

Buy the book:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble

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*This post contains affiliate links.

A Video Game Day

Is today Saturday?

Oh. I guess it is.

Well, I caved yesterday and decided to download PokemonGo.

So after I got home from my friend’s house, Kris and I played PokemonGo for the first time.

Then we decided to play more video games after.

It wasn’t until about ten-o’clock last night that I realized I never finished reading the book I’m currently on.

So. Oops?

Stay tuned for the review on Tuesday! And I hope everyone has a wonderful day.

If you play PokemonGo, which team are you on?

Professor Layton and the Eternal Diva

Professor Layton Movie Review Rachel Poli
via IMDB
Title: Professor Layton and the Eternal Diva
Starring: Yo Oizumi, Maki Horikita

Summary (from IMDB):

Layton and Luke are caught up in an adventure, when a masked figure steals an entire opera house and forces those in attendance to play a high-stakes game. The winner will receive eternal life, but it could mean death for the losers.

My Review:

Okay, I’m kind of cheating this month with my movie review. No, this movie is not about writing. Yes, this movie is based upon a video game series.

However, being a mystery writer I felt as though this movie would be fairly appropriate.

Professor Layton and his assistant, Luke, find themselves in trouble when a masked man takes over an opera house not allowing anyone to leave until they solve his riddles and he gets what he wants. Of course, no one knows his true motive and if you fail his riddles… Well, that could mean death.

Some of the riddles were easy to guess, some not so much. There was one that I was sure I was right and then Layton had to ahead and be smart and prove me wrong. It reminds me of when I’m writing my mystery series and I wonder if any readers will guess what’s going on or not.

The end of the movie is a complete twist, one that I had not seen coming. Yet when I knew the truth, everything else the movie made perfect sense. It really was a great mystery.

It’s a cartoon, it’s silly, but it was well worth the watch for me.

Professor Layton and the Eternal Diva gets  4 out of 5 stars.

Would I recommend? Yes.

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Double Jump: New Blog

Double Jump Video Game Blog

Happy Thursday everyone!

Today’s post is going to be a shameless self-promotion. I don’t do this often, so I hope you’ll bare with me.

I started a new blog!

If you know me, you know I love blogging. The more blogs, the better.

This blog has been in the works for a few months now. My sister, Kris, and I have been collaborating on it. Hence the name:

Double Jump.

Get it? Double? Also, Double Jump is a term for video games?

Do you see where I’m going with this?

My main blog here is all about reading and writing, my journey to becoming published someday, to help you guys with your writing, as well as you help me with my writing.

Naturally, the majority of my following (Probably about 95% of you guys) all have blogs that have to do with writing, reading, or blogging. And the majority of the blogs I follow are about writing and reading.

But I have other interests too, just like we all do.

Again, if you know me at all, you know I love video games.

Kris and I started a brand new blog all about video games called Double Jump!

We’ll be posting five days a week–Kris will post on Mondays and Fridays, I will post on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and we’ll both publish a collaborative post on Wednesdays.

We’ll both write game reviews, write general articles about video games, have top lists, debates, etc.

We both love to play video games in our spare time. We play a decently wide range of game genres and we’re always willing to try new ones as well as step out of our comfort zone a little bit.

The blog is a baby as it’s only been open for about a week, but there’s plenty more content where that came from!

So, if you enjoy video games like we do, feel free to hop on over to Double Jump and check it out.

Kris and I hope you’ll join us! Video games are always more fun with other people to play with.

Write, Game, Repeat

I started that new schedule this week. I figured I should try to get myself into a decent routine now to make everything easier when I have to ease back into work and babysitting in a couple of weeks.

For Monday through Thursday (and Saturdays) I want to spend a good chunk of my day writing.

Except I can’t sit down at my laptop for six hours straight typing. I’m sure my fingers would get lazy, my eyes would cross, and headaches would emerge.

If you know me at all, you know I love to play video games.

So for the past couple of days this week I’ve been going back and forth between writing and playing video games.

Kris and I have been doing it together to make it less lonely. We write for an hour then play video games together for an hour. Then repeat.

It’s as simple as that. We get our work done and get to relax and recharge at the same time.

If only I could do that every day for the rest of my life.

Write… Play video games… Repeat…

Inspiration Explanation

For those of you who read my March: Inspiration Board post two days ago, I wanted to explain further on some of my Pinterest boards and why those things inspire me to be who I am today.

It’s one thing for me to give you a link to my Pinterest and say, “These are all the things I enjoy. I hope you enjoy them, too!”

However, it’s another thing for me to say, “I pinned this because…”

I have a Writing board. I don’t know if you guys know this, but if I didn’t write I would go insane. I need my imaginary friends and I need to go to new places and be in different situations, real or fiction. I also have a Reading board. That inspires me to write. It inspires me to create my own worlds and create my own characters for others to love and enjoy. Reading and writing go hand-in-hand and one inspires me to do the other.

I have a Sunday School board. I am a teacher and the director of my church’s Sunday school. I love teaching to no end and while I don’t particular enjoy going to church (I can’t sit still long enough to get through an hour-long service), I love broadening the horizons of the church’s children. Because I’m just teaching them about God, Jesus, and the Bible, I’m teaching them about life.

Speaking of, I also have a Teaching board. I’ve been teaching preschool for four years and I can’t imagine myself not waking up in the morning to not see those kids every day. I have to ability to teach them a lot and I learn a lot from them, as well.

There are many different TV shows and movies that inspire me as well. Once Upon A Time, The Lord of the RingsHarry PotterPsych, and many more. I have boards for each of those. The characters are amazing and the writers are brilliant.

The same goes for video games; especially The Legend of Zelda and Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney. I hope to be able to write stories just as well as these game and the movies/shows mentioned above.

I obviously can’t explain all 93 boards to you, but those are the main ones. Those are what make me who I am today and I’m always going to keep growing into someone better. Now you guys know me a little bit better.

I hope you guys are inspired by a lot of things in the world just like I am.

Babies And Video Games

Friday: What did I do Friday? Well, I went to work and constantly checked my phone. Thursday night my friend went to the hospital to be induced. The meds to induce her were not working so instead of texting her sister, “was the baby born?” I had to ask, “is she in labor yet?” After work, still constantly checking my phone, I worked a bit on my blog and did my Sunday school lesson plan for this Sunday. I also organized some stuff around my desk. It was very riveting.

Saturday: You ready for this one? Kris and I went to Barnes and Noble in the morning, like every Saturday. We got some writing done. I wrote a bit of Detective Florence — just a quick story about the characters, it’s not in any of the novels… although it might be someday. Then we walked around looking at books and decided that we haven’t gotten any books in a while. Kris bought two books and I bought one.

Then we went to Kohl’s because even though I just bought new clothes, I needed more pants. Two pairs of jeans ripped in the rear so I had to throw them out. I also got socks, too because I’m always putting holes in mine.

Then we went to Toys R Us in search of a Wii U SD card. They didn’t have it, but we gawked at all the games and ended up buying two new games for our XBox 360. One of them is Minecraft… yes, we finally gave in to that fandom.

To keep a long story short, we tried to play multiplayer, but one of the controllers died. Actually died, not just the batteries. We went out to Toys R Us again to buy a new controller. They didn’t have them. So, we went to Gamestop and bought one. We went home and discovered that in order to play multiplayer on Minecraft we need an HD port and since our XBox is old, it doesn’t have that. In other words… we fail.

In other news, after being 11 days overdue and being in the hospital for three of those days, my friend finally had her baby Saturday night! She is adorable and I can’t wait to meet her so I can spoil her rotten!

Sunday: We went to church and were there for an extra two hours because we had our annual meeting afterwards. It was long, but I can’t complain. We came home and I helped my dad clean up some of the basement. Whenever this snow melts, we’re most likely going to get flooded. Then I worked some more on my blog.

This Week: I’m going to continue working on my blog posts. I want to get my March posts written as soon as possible to leave room for other things like writing/editing.

I have to edit the first chapter of the second draft of Detective Florence by March 15 to send to my local writer’s group. I have to figure out what I’m going to write for Camp NaNo next month (yes… it’s already a month away!) and I have to outline whatever it is I’m going to write.

I actually have a lot going on in March when it comes to writing and blogging. It’ll be interesting to see how it all goes.

How was your weekend?

Snow Day!

My mailbox and fence in the front yard.
My mailbox and fence in the front yard.

Blizzard 2015 (that’s what they’re calling it) has hit us hard. Everyone stayed safe (as far as I know) and it gave me a snow day from work. So go Blizzard 2015!

We got about 2-3 feet of snow… maybe more. I’m not entirely sure. As you can see from the picture above my fence and mailbox was just about buried. I took that picture earlier this morning, so it’s a bit worse now.

I charged all my electronics last night (Kindle, phone, 3DS, Wii U controller, and laptop) just in case. My co-worker said, “Isn’t it sad that our first thought of a power outage is to charge our electronics?” It’s not worrying about food spoiling, heat, or anything like that.

Yes, we are human and we have our priorities straight.

The snow started at 12:30 PM yesterday (Monday) and is still going strong. It’s not expected to stop until about midnight/one o’clock in the morning, which would be Wednesday. It’s kind of crazy, but cool at the same time.

It was nice not to have to go to work today. I got a lot of homework done. Two out of my four classes are done, one class I just have one more assignment to do, and my other class (Spanish, if you couldn’t guess…) has a quiz and a project left. I’m hoping to get the rest done tomorrow because I have another snow day tomorrow! Yay! They’re not optimistic they’ll have the snow cleaned up by tomorrow morning for school to resume, so I get to sleep in again and have another pajama day. Fine by me.

In addition to homework, Kris and I played video games. No surprise there, right? The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask and Super Mario 64. Two games from the Nintendo 64… we’re going old school because we’re cool like that.

I did write today, so I actually did something. I typed up about 14 pages of Detective Florence 2. I’m about halfway through the manuscript now so I’m hoping to finish by the end of the week. Then I can outline the next part so I can write the next part in February. I think that sounds like a good plan, yes?

Tomorrow will definitely be helpful since I don’t have to spend six hours of my day at work. If I can get my homework and another chunk of writing done, then the rest of the week will be a breeze writing-wise… even with work and babysitting thrown into the mix.

Anyway, I hope anyone getting hit by this blizzard is doing well… I hope we’re all warm and all have power in our houses.

Snowy Weekend

Well, it’s Monday again. I feel as though the weekend never happened. It always goes by way too fast.

Friday: I went to work per usual. I didn’t have my car because it needed some new tires. So, dad drove me to work and my sister Lisa drove me home (we work together). While I was at work my mechanic called saying my car was ready. So Lisa drove me down there, but she hit a pothole on the way and broke her own car. A spring popped out of her brakes or something like that. We got my car and together I drove us back to my house while she left her car to be fixed. A half hour later, we picked it back up good as new.

We also switched back to Verizon from Comcast. Lucy not has a steady Internet connection after struggling for two years. Yay!

Mom and I went food shopping, then my parents, Kris, and me all went out to dinner and then wandered around Barnes and Noble for a bit. There were things I was going to get done Friday night, but I didn’t do any of them because we didn’t get home until eight that evening. Kris and I then watched YouTube videos for a few hours before going to bed. Needless to say, it was not productive.

Saturday: I slept in a bit late, but I had plans to get some things done. You know, like stuff on my blog, writing/editing, etc. I didn’t do any of that. We had a snow storm so it was the perfect day to stay in my pajamas (which I did), relax and do nothing… which I did.

Kris and I sat on the couch, played a few different video games and watched Netflix. It was pretty bad considering we both had plans to be productive. She did hand write a little in a notebook and I did some posts on my blog, but that was it. Then we went back onto the couch. Then again, you need a relaxing break every now and then.

Sunday: Again, not very productive. Went to church, played video games, and did some posts for my blog. There were a couple times Kris and I sat at our desks to get some writing done, but we didn’t have much motivation. Kris got some writing done, I got nothing done. It was pretty bad.

At least I can say I had a relaxful weekend. How was your weekend?