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Sunday Scribble – “Stream”

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Stream

Sarah claiming to be awesome at racing games was a severe understatement. When Josh had finally been able to convince Rebecca and Sarah to join him in a live stream – rather, when he had finally been able to convince Rebecca, for Sarah had been raring to go as soon as he had voiced the idea – it was to play one of the more popular racing games that were on the latest consoles, Burning Rubber.

Sarah had left Rebecca and Josh, and the other computer-controlled characters, in the dust right after the first lap, leaving Rebecca and Josh to duke it out to see who would cross the finish line first. Josh had a better handle on the controls, but Rebecca was trickier, able to use the course’s obstacles to her advantage much better than Josh was able to. She had even launched herself off of a ramp with the help of a speed boost, a ramp that Josh had never even noticed before despite how many times he had played the game.

Even though he came in fourth at the last second, with Rebecca zooming by his character for a third place, Josh couldn’t help but grin. If he had lost like that to Ethan and Calvin, he would have pretending to be angry, complete with pouting and name-calling. With the girls, he just felt like laughing.

Sarah had done a little dance when she came in first, much to the amusement and entertainment of those watching the live stream. She seemed delighted at the compliments and even answered a few questions to those who had directed them at her. Rebecca shared some tips of her own, even if she was a bit more soft-spoken to the camera despite her smiling. Josh planned on teasing Rebecca, normally so confident, for how shy she seemed in front of the webcam.

Then some asshole mentioned how the girls should take off their tops and other such insults, but before Josh could ban the user, one of his chat’s moderators did it for him. While the rest of the well-meaning chat tittered and scolded the asshole, Josh smiled and merely said, “Thanks, Ethan, for responding to that so quickly.”

“Oh, Ethan’s here? Hi Ethan! Responding to what?” Sarah asked, apparently having missed the asshole, but as her gaze skimmed through the chat’s comments, comprehension dawned on her face. “Ohhh… Dude, why would you want us to do that when there’s perfectly good porn all over the Internet?”

Josh spit out his drink at her casual question. Rebecca laughed and reached over to the wad of napkins they still had on the table from their pizza dinner, handing them over to Josh.

“Thank you, Ethan,” Rebecca said as well.

“Of course, ladies,” Ethan had typed in the chat. “That kind of disrespect should not be condoned by anyone.”

“It shouldn’t,” Josh agreed, pleased that the majority of the chat had been respectful to the girls so far. In fact, most of them seemed downright angry at the moment, especially some of his viewers that he knew to be female, and he feared that it would become a sticky topic in his chat if he didn’t divert their attention somehow.

“Thanks for your support,” Rebecca said, reading the chat as well. “Although, right now, I think Josh and I could use some support on how to get revenge on that computer character that beat us both in that last race. Should we bulk up with the missile or speed boost power-ups?”

“I like the idea of the speed boosts, keep him way behind,” Josh said, glad that the chat directed its focus on debating which power-ups were better thanks to Rebecca changing the subject.

Rebecca gave him a wicked grin. “I prefer the missiles, especially the firework-like ones.”

He raised an eyebrow at her, the corner of his lips twitching. “Should I be frightened?”

“Only if you get ahead of me in the next race.”

Choruses of “Ohhhh!”s and emotes ranging from laughing and devil horns spammed the chatbox.

“Speaking of the next race,” Sarah said, “are you losers ready to race again?”

“I’m leaving you behind with all those speed boosts too,” Josh said, picking up his controller and going through the options to set up the next race.

The girls beat him in that race, too.

“You have no mercy,” Josh said, whipping around to Rebecca.

She only shrugged. “I warned you.”

Someone in the chat was spamming, “SAVAGE,” and a few had posted applause emotes, Ethan included.

“I need to meet you two ladies in person,” Ethan typed out. “I’m going to challenge Sarah in a racing game and Rebecca in whatever game she feels she’s good at. As long as it’s not platforming.”

Sarah laughed. “I’d love you if you can kick her ass in a fighting game. Like, Mega Punch.”

“Dunno about that,” Ethan said, “but I’d love to try!”

“You guys are coming out here in a couple of months, right?” Rebecca asked, much to the delight of the chat.

“For Tradeline, yeah,” Ethan typed. “Josh, you’re taking the girls, right?”

“Of course I am,” Josh said, “if they’d like to.”

“Sounds like fun!” Sarah piped up. “It’s at the end of the summer, right?”

Rebecca paused. “It depends for me,” she said. “I’d love to go, but I have a wedding—No, no, I’m not getting married!” The chat went crazy with the question, asking if they could see the ring, who the guy was, and – much to his embarrassment – asking if the groom was Josh. “It’s one of my best friend’s wedding, I’m one of the bridesmaids. That’s all. Well, I shouldn’t say, that’s all, considering how much lighter my wallet is going to be after it’s all over…”

“You’ll probably be exhausted,” Josh said lightly. “The option will stay open, of course, if you find yourself wanting to join us at Tradeline after the wedding.”

“Thank you,” Rebecca said. “Hopefully I’ll be able to go with you guys.”

“Josh, I’ll be clinging to you the whole time, just so ya know,” Sarah warned.

Josh chuckled. “That’s fine. After seeing your sister use those missile power-ups so effectively, I don’t want to imagine what she’d do to me if I accidentally lost you at a convention.”

“Neither would I.” Sarah’s agreement was devoid of any mirth, and Josh choose not to comment on it.

“I hope both of you will be able to come,” Ethan typed. “We need a group meet-up!”

“Ethan, aren’t you guys staying at my place?” Josh asked, ignoring the small flip his stomach did at the though. “You’ll meet them, don’t worry.”

The chat began to speak about sleepover games, and Sarah joined right in. Ethan continued to type out comments about Tradeline to Josh and Rebecca, and Burning Rubber was soon forgotten. Eventually, Rebecca glanced at the time and mentioned that they should go back home.

“It was nice talking with you all,” she said to the chat, and the chat chorused back a series of goodbyes, well-wishes, and hopes to see the girls on Josh’s streams again.

“I would love to stream with these two again,” Josh said. “Hopefully we’ll be able to do it soon!”

“Yeah, this was great.” Sarah waved to the webcam.

“You walking them home?” Ethan typed out.

“Of course,” Josh said, and the rest of the chat praised him for being a gentleman. He rolled his eyes in good humor and added, “Not that the girls need protection. You saw how fast Sarah was and how savage Rebecca was in a video game, didn’t you?” He said one final goodbye before shutting everything down.

“You don’t have to walk us back,” Rebecca said, gathering her coat and their share of the leftover pizza.

“I want to,” Josh said simply, tying up his shoes despite Peanut trying to eat his laces.

Sarah picked up Peanut to give her a goodbye hug, much to the cat’s chagrin. “If you’re sure,” the younger sister said, placing the cat down on the sofa.

It was a short walk, one that Josh spent the entire time trying to schedule the next stream that the girls would do with him. “I’m thinking maybe we should play Mega Punch?”

Rebecca chuckled, but Sarah said, “Yes! Rebecca will kick both of our asses, but it’s also an online game, right? Think Ethan can be player four?”

Josh paused for a moment, having forgotten that aspect of the game, and nodded. With a crooked smile, he said, “Sure, I’ll ask him. The time zone difference may be a little weird, but we might be able to figure it out.”

“Yes!” Sarah pumped her fist in the air. “And we can do teams for some of the fights, like girls versus guys, or old people versus younger people, who’s older, anyway? You or Ethan?”

Josh raised an eyebrow. “Uh, Ethan.”

“Great, Ethan and Rebecca versus you and me! We’ll totally lose, but it’ll be fun.” With that declaration, Sarah hugged Josh goodnight and skipped into the house.

“Thanks for tonight,” Rebecca said, smiling up at Josh. “You alright?”

“Huh? Yeah, of course I’m alright,” Josh said. “Why wouldn’t I be?”

She gave him a half shrug. “Just wasn’t sure how you were doing with your crush, that’s all. You don’t turn red as much anymore when Ethan is brought up.”

“Oh.” Josh scratched the back of his head. “Well, he’s my friend first and foremost, as is Linda. I’m fine.”

Rebecca hummed and gave him her own hug. “Good night, then. We’ll probably talk to you tomorrow, if not sooner.”

“Good night, Bec.” Josh watched as she went into the house, chuckling to himself as he heard Moose’s excited yips at the girls finally being home, before turning around to walk back up the street by himself.

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Posted by on May 28, 2017 in Scribbles

 

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Sunday Scribble – “Fault”

(A very happy Mother’s day to all out there!)

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Fault

“Grace really misses you,” Ethan said.

“I would hope so,” Josh teased. “I hope all of you guys still miss me. Absence makes the heart grow fonder and all, you know?”

“Dude, I can’t miss you any more than I already do,” was Ethan’s response, his chuckle coming out a little cackling through the phone. Josh smiled tightly, taking a deep breath through the nose to calm himself. Every time Josh thought his stupid crush on his best friend was waning, Ethan went and said or did something that made the crush ram back into his heart.

“No, but man, I mean Grace really misses you,” Ethan continued. “Like, pretty sure she’s kicking herself over not confessing her love for you before you thought to up and move.”

Josh nearly tripped over Peanut. “Confess? What?”

“She must have fallen hard for you at some point,” Ethan said. “She’s fine, but every time your name comes up, she gets mopey. How does she sound when you talk to her?”

“Pretty normal, I guess,” Josh said, shrugging to himself as he plopped down on the ground. Tossing one of Peanut’s toys for the cat to chase, he added, “She’s not sighing wistfully into the phone or anything, and our text conversations don’t have a million heart emotes or anything. Grace has always sounded cheerful.”

“Linda’s trying to talk to her into saying something to you,” Ethan said. “I’m probably not even supposed to be telling you this, but I figured we’re somewhat adults—”

“Just somewhat?” Josh asked, amused.

“Yeah, just somewhat,” Ethan said firmly. “We’re still figuring stuff out, like not to put aluminum in the microwave—”

“My God Ethan—”

“I didn’t do it!” Ethan protested. “Calvin did.”

“Of course,” Josh drawled. “Why the hell would he do that?”

“Wanted to see what would happen,” Ethan said, and Josh could picture his friend shrugging. “Anyway, I figured that you should be prepared for Grace telling you or Linda saying something.”

“Thanks for the warning, I guess,” Josh said, not entirely sure what to do with the information. “She could just miss me as a friend, you know. She always wore her heart on her sleeve.”

“That’s true,” Ethan agreed. “If Grace does suddenly confess, though, any idea what you’d say?”

“Why?” Josh asked, nearly hitting a vase that his mother had given him before the move with Peanut’s mouse toy. The cat wasn’t deterred at all from the toy smacking the wall and landing next to the vase on the end table. She wiggled in anticipation to jump up on the table, but Josh scooped her up and moved her away. There was no doubt that Peanut would knock over the vase in her quest to get the toy.

“Hey, if the feeling was at least a little mutual,” Ethan said, “that would be a perfect excuse for you to move back out here.”

Josh sighed and tossed the mouse toy a safe distance away from anything breakable. “Ethan, I’ve been out here for almost a year,” he said. “I have no plans to go back there anytime soon, if at all, alright?”

Ethan grew quiet on the other end, and Josh had a sudden fear that the pair were disconnected. Eventually, though, Ethan murmured, “I’m still not used to it. It’s still too weird to not have you here with us, playing games with us, ragging on my art while I complain about your writing, working together… It still sucks.”

“Ethan…”

“Seriously, Josh,” Ethan said. “What exactly made you move so far away? Did we do something? Did I do something? I just… I still can’t figure it out.”

“No, Ethan.” Josh leaned against the wall, opting to pet Peanut instead of throwing her toy again. Peanut didn’t seem to mind too much, if her purring was a good indicator, but she did bat the toy at Josh’s foot. “It definitely wasn’t your fault.”

It was mine.

“Whose was it?” Ethan asked. “Did someone say something to you? Was it Chris, the new guy who helps the girls edit their music—”

“No, no, no,” Josh said, hoping that Ethan wouldn’t go on a rampage against any person that had found their way into their little ragtag group. Shy Chris certainly hadn’t done anything. “No, seriously, it’s just me. I needed to move to figure out stuff about myself.”

“You couldn’t have done that around us?” Ethan asked. “I mean… I get it if you wanted to take a vacation from us, we all can be bat-shit crazy sometimes, but there wasn’t any hope of us helping?”

“No, I don’t think so,” Josh said. “I just really needed this move. I’m sorry that it took me away from all of you, really. No one is sorrier than I am about that…”

Ethan sighed into the phone. “Don’t apologize. I mean, if you know what you need, more power to you. Just wish it didn’t take you so far away, that’s all. On the bright side, since I really don’t want to end this conversation on a melancholy note, you met the Miller sisters! How are the cuties doing? That Arnold bastard still being a pain?”

“Don’t let Linda hear you say that,” Josh teased. Ethan scoffed and Josh answered his question. “Rebecca and Sarah are doing well, thanks. I honestly haven’t heard about Arnold in a bit, so I guess everything’s okay on that front? The sisters ask about you guys all the time too. Can’t wait for you all to meet.”

“We’re looking forward to it too,” Ethan said. “Just a couple of months until Tradeline! Don’t think we’re getting a panel, but it’ll be a nice excuse to just travel over there, you know?”

“Advertise to your stream followers that you’re going,” Josh said. “Some may be able to make it out here, too. I got a few of my regulars planning on coming to say hi, and Naomi has it advertised on the Boss Mode website for even more interest. Maybe if we get enough people appearing just to see us, the organizers behind Tradeline will be willing to give us a panel next year.”

“That’d be great,” Ethan said. “You got my room all ready for me?”

“It’s still there, last I checked,” Josh replied cheekily. He finally got up from the ground and, with Peanut trying to wind her way around his legs, went into the kitchen to get her supper ready. Josh paused a minute and, while trying to sound casual, asked, “Is Linda coming here too?”

“Well, not sure,” Ethan said. “Do you have room for all of us to crash at your house? We definitely want to see you as much as possible, but we also realized it was kind of shitty of us to assume that we could get free room and board over there. It’s completely up to you who you want there, myself included. Say the word and we’ll book a hotel.”

“No, I want you guys here,” Josh said, glancing around his house and trying to imagine where five of his friends would go. If anything, he could get an air mattress or two while someone took the living room couch, maybe. “Just, uh… bring sleeping bags just in case.”

Ethan laughed. “A sleeping bag? Dude, I haven’t had one of those since middle school, I think. I’ll try to find one, haha!”

Josh chuckled as well, putting Peanut’s food down for her. With a bright meow, she dug in and Josh leaned against the kitchen counter, just enjoying the connection he had with Ethan even though neither were saying a word at the moment. Silences with Ethan had always been comfortable, and Josh hoped that they always would be.

Eventually, however, Ethan said gently, “Hey, I’m going to go now, alright? I’m not sure what time it is over there because I suck at time zones, but I have to start prepping for dinner. I’ll talk to you soon, man.”

“Alright, Ethan,” Josh said, looking at his own clock. “Take care.”

“You too, Josh!” The line disconnected and Josh took a deep breath. He smiled down at Peanut as she cleaned her bowl before figuring he should surprise his followers with an impromptu video game stream.

 
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Posted by on May 14, 2017 in Scribbles

 

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Escapism

There’s something to be said about the escapism of books. Reality can be terrible, but books are able to transport you to a whole new world, one where you as the reader are able to help make a difference.

I used to have so much more time while in school to read. I’d devour books in mere weeks with the help of my study periods and downtime in between classes. I wrote long hand a lot more often as well, going into my own world to block out the stress of reality.

I’m getting a little better at having a bit more down time in my schedule after work for reading, writing, and getting lost in video games (which I also consider to be amazing stories). Adulting is hard, but a touch of imagination helps me cope.

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Posted by on February 22, 2017 in Home

 

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Snow Day

We’re supposed to get about a foot of snow around where I live, so all the schools are closed and I, by sheer coincidence, had taken the day off of work. I woke up expecting a winter Wonderland, but I was greeted with this:

There’s almost nothing! The snow is coming down and it’ll still be a great reading and gaming day, but I was so amused at being able to see the road with all the snow day hype.

If you’re in the snowstorm’s path, be safe and enjoy it!

 
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Posted by on February 9, 2017 in Home

 

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Blog Resolutions

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  • Continue posting every day — last year was the first time really committing to this blog, and it’s been a fantastic habit both for my writing and for communicating with others (see, Mom, I promise I won’t turn into a hermit!).
  • Schedule out more posts in advance — I’m a procrastinator by design, but by actually scheduling and writing out more posts ahead of time, I’ll have more time on my hands to work more on my writing, reading, and drawing (… and video gaming).
  • Read more — definitely need to carve out more time for reading, not only to include some more reviews on this blog, but also because think of all the awesome books I’m missing out on!
  • Be better with commenting — I’m awful at this one, and I aim to be a lot better. Don’t take as long to reply to comments on my own posts, but also poke around more at other blogs on WordPress. I follow some amazing people around here, and I need to show them more love!

What about you all out there? Got any good resolutions, for blogging or otherwise?

 
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Posted by on January 6, 2017 in Home

 

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Irrelevant

Have you ever written something that, later down the road, you realized is irrelevant? Rather, if you got the story published, it would be dated due to a certain section or subject?

I realized that one of the novels that I’ve been working on for a couple of years — one that has spanned it’s own world and stories with a plethora of characters that I adore writing — has something like that. In the beginning of the first novel, one of the characters creates a virtual reality game. Describing the game is one of my favorite scenes in the book, for at the time I was writing it, I was able to dive deep into my imagination with how virtual reality would work.

Now virtual reality is, well, a reality, and that scene doesn’t sparkle as much as it used to.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m also a video game nut, so virtual reality games are amazing! I haven’t had the chance to try them personally yet, but from what I’ve seen, they work wonderfully and I’m so excited that this technology has evolved in my lifetime.

Obviously I can just switch up the scene in the novel, but it won’t be the same, you know? Of course, there are other books out there that play with the virtual reality concept, books that I’ve enjoyed and had inspired me to make my own twist on the virtual reality concept. Now, though, I’m not so sure…

Anyone else have similar dilemmas?

 
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Posted by on September 8, 2016 in Home

 

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Expanding Creativity

I really don’t know what to write.

Not only for this blog post, but for my stories as well. I have a plethora of first drafts waiting in the wings for me to continue them, but my sporadic mind tends to latch onto new ideas before I can finish one.

Now my mind has expanded to some other types of writing.

With our other blog Double Jump, Rachel and I have been playing more video games, which are fantastic. Video games has always been one of our hobbies, and we kind of forgot about them while pursuing our writing dreams. Yet, video games have always been an inspiration when it comes to creating our worlds.

The art, the stories, the characters… It all expands our minds and creativity. As writers, we’re more mindful of the sheer amount of effort and heart that goes into creating these games. Like collaborating on a story, the teams behind video games work together to bring entire worlds to life.

To us, that’s amazing.

Those other types of writing I’ve been thinking of? They’re video game and comic book scripts. Video game art has made me think again of my sketchbooks chilling in bins in the back of my closet.

Maybe it’s time I exercise those creative muscles again.

 
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Posted by on May 24, 2016 in Home

 

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