Wildlife Adventures

Tonight I went out to play frisbee golf with some ETC alums and some park in Pasadena. It was a fun time all around, but being out in the park really drove home for me how unfamiliar I am with the plants and animals of my new home.

Ever since the sixth grade (go Holy Family Ecology Team, woo!), I’ve had some ability to identify trees, and while I may not remember their scientific names anymore, I could always name the more common varieties in the woods of Kentucky and Pennsylvania. The animals I ran into always felt familiar to me. I mean, I grew up with all of that, right?

Tonight at the park, I saw some lizards, but didn’t know what kind. We flushed out a family of some kind of ground bird with a stray frisbee. Kind of like quails, but I don’t think they were. And, of course, we trudged through all manner of desert scrub and under trees which I couldn’t name if I tried.

Basically, I feel like I have a lot of catching up to do. Surely the library will have one of those tiny books on identifying local trees.

Speaking of trees, around the 13th hole, we saw some guys who had treed their frisbee, and couldn’t get it down by throwing rocks (it was wedged high up among the small branches pretty good). I was feeling adventurous, so I clambered on up into the high branches of the tree (about 15 feet up), then walked out onto a bough near the edge, in spite of the terrified protests of my friends below. I managed to prod the frisbee out with a stick, and climbed back down without injuring myself (though I did sustain a fair amount of scrapes).

The two guys were extremely grateful, and I felt very happy knowing that I can still climb a tree at 27 – I’m pretty sure the last time I did so was in high school or earlier. Adventure! I’ll probably regret it tomorrow morning, but for now, I feel hard core 🙂


It’s easy to take for granted, but the library is pretty much the greatest thing ever.

I haven’t just been focusing on games since moving to LA; there are plenty of books I’m plowing through. Living right next door to the library has inspired me to use it, it would seem. Here’s what I’ve finished so far.

Moby Dick, which I’d never read before. I liked it a lot! Even the whaling sections! I think it has to do with my insanely fast pace at reading: it made all those informational chapters feel like pleasant asides, nothing that I had to plow through. As I mentioned in a status update before, it could just run in the family (my brother is a big Melville fan).

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. I always got this and To Kill a Mockingbird mixed up, because they both had birds in the title. I enjoyed this read quite a bit as well, even though I foresaw the inevitable end. It was tough, but fascinating and well-contained.

Shardik. In spite of Watership Down being my favorite book ever, I realized I’d never read any of Richard Adams’ other stuff. Shardik was a focused journey story, and had a lot of the same feel as Siddhartha to me. I think I prefer Adams’ animal-POV stuff, but it was a good read nonetheless.

Next up on my plate are The Forever War and another Adams’ book, Traveller

Fourth of July Fun and Feasts!

What a day of splendor! I spent the holiday with Josh, and we had a fantastic adventure of a day! Our primary goal was to defeat the grill and make something tasty, using the book that my mom lent us as a guide for proper grillin. We picked up some porterhouse steaks from Whole Foods and inevitably, as always happens when Josh and I go to Whole Foods, we indulged in purchasing way more tasty food than we’d originally planned.

I was pleased and surprised to see that the Whole Foods in Pasadena carries Garlic Expressions – my favorite salad dressing of all, and I introduced Josh to its majesty via an heirloom tomato & avocado salad, drizzled with the garlicky, vinegary goodness. DELICIOUS!

We also picked up fancy cheeses and breads and apple butter, which proved to be fine supplements to the steaks (which, I may add, were grilled to absolute perfection). Afterwards, we finished devouring the rest of the cherry-blueberry pie I baked yesterday.

In addition to the foody decadence, we played games (finishing Gears of War 2 finally, and starting through Half Life 2 Episode 2) and had not one, but TWO naps! It was the finest and laziest way to spend a holiday.


Twilight Princess

Twilight Princess checked off my video game list! I finished tonight, and was extremely pleased with the game. I enjoyed it through and through, especially a lot of the items and mechanics that I wasn’t used to, and the storylines were all great. I really loved the relationship between Midna and Link that grew throughout the entire game – it was beautifully nourished (and I even shed a few tears at the very end!)

Creating believable relationships in games, and making you really care about characters, is hard as all get-out, as we all know. Many times if a game tries very hard to make you feel a connection to a character, it feels forced, contrived, and induces eye rolling and scoffing (*coughcough*GearsOfWar*cough*). The Midna relationship, however, grew and changed and was believable, and I latched right onto it. I feel like just about everything in that game (from the story, to the animations, to the audio) served that character relationship, and it worked!

Also, Twilight Princess has some of the best end credits ever. When I finish a game, I want the end credits to wind down the experience – a nice ease out of the interest curve. Credits that give nods back to the story and show “what happened after” are wonderful and gratifying. I’m pretty sure these end credits were the most pleasing I’d experienced since Final Fantasy VI.

Well…7 games left! I’d better pick up the pace! 🙂 I doubt I’ll make it by the end of the summer, but I’ll keep working at it.