More than once, especially when meeting new people, I’ve been asked “What do you like to do? What are your hobbies?”

And every time, I’m instantly and completely flummoxed. Because I honestly don’t know.

This has been a problem for me for years. I like so many things and I get excited about individual things like movies or books or a fantastic shirt I found. But I wouldn’t characterize any of those things as something I’m “passionate” about.

I like art. I like to draw, doodle, paint, modge podge and create things out of other things. I get excited about new projects I find on Pinterest (oh, the never-ending event horizon that is Pinterest). But I don’t feel like I’m really passionate about creating art. I like doing it, but I don’t have to do it.

I like to cook. I LOVE to eat and I love my own cooking. I like being able to throw together ingredients and make my own versions of regular dishes. I like finding new ingredients, like quinoa, and then experimenting with them. But I’m not passionate about cooking.

I like to read. I used to be a quintessential bookworm and devoured new books within hours. I was the girl on the couch with a book whose name had to be called two or three times before I heard it because I was so engrossed. After my son was born, I didn’t have time to read anymore and I’m just now getting back into it. I’ve recently been buying audio books to listen to in the car and am enjoying that. But it doesn’t feel like a passion.

I like to write, though you wouldn’t be able to tell by my blog recently. I haven’t updated it in a long time. I think I write well and I like being able to put down my thoughts in a way that entertains someone else and makes them possibly think about the world or themselves in a slightly different way, or makes them identify with what I’ve written. But I’m not passionate about writing. I don’t have a need to do it, though I enjoy it when I do.

My boyfriend Jay’s sister asked me when she met me for the first time, “So, what do you like to do?” I looked at Jay, at a loss, and said “What DO I like to do?”

She laughed and said, “You don’t know??” and I said, “No! I can’t think of a single thing!”

Maybe my brain just doesn’t work that way. There are plenty of things I like to do that don’t fall into the category of “hobbies” or “passions”. I like to pick through antique malls and consignment shops. I like collecting antique depression glass. I like farmer’s markets and craft shows. I like live music. I like swimming, forests, cities, the beach, the night sky, watching the rain, tv shows and movies that aren’t overly serious, and astronomy. I like things that are interesting, unique or different in some way. I like cheese! These aren’t passions though!

Sometimes it seems like I’ve been searching my entire life to find the one thing that rings true with me, the one thing I’m totally passionate about doing. And I just haven’t found it. My mind seems to work in 14 different directions all at once. I tend to be fairly good at whatever I try to do and that creates a certain level of satisfaction. I just haven’t found that one thing that I’m driven to do. And sometimes it’s difficult to watch other people indulging in things they’re so obviously passionate about. It’s not jealousy, but there is a little bit of envy.

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New Software Reviews: Windows Folder Tab

My buddy Acadia Einstein of is guest-posting! Here is his tech-blog-style post.

Have you ever saved a bunch of pics or other files in a folder and then been totally convinced that you named it so cleverly that there is NO WAY you can forget what it is? And then later on you completely forget and stare at the folder and wonder what “Falcon” meant?

Well you could go into the folder and start looking at the files, but who has time for that? So you just go past it and then someday when your backup tells you it is going to take 17 hours you know that Falcon is to blame but you still don’t dare to delete it because it might be important.

Well, enter Windows Folder Tab with the simplest thing you could possibly imagine. When you make a folder, the program pops up a small text box allows you to add a quick description of the folder. There are a couple other fun tweaks, too (different icons, etc) but the main thing is that you get to SAY WHAT THE POINT OF THE FOLDER IS!

Later, when you mouse over it, it pops up the description. It also shows in the properties if that’s your bag. But the best part is the mouseover. Now, it is a drawback that once you are IN the folder it doesn’t tell you anything, but at least it’s a start. And the description doesn’t get indexed by Windows search (yet) but it is still better than nothing.

By the way – how crappy is it that Google Desktop Search is going away. That thing is gold!

So remember. You can add descriptions to your folders with Windows Folder Tab

And it is optional. So I don’t need to make a Description for C:\Users\Acadia\Documents\Gallery Stuff\Backups\Old\eeesoft\Log Files\Unix\Dllv because that folder it totally packed with awesome porn.

*wakes up*

Oh crap. Did I dream about that awesome piece of software that doesn’t exist again? Ugh. I will never figure out why I have a folder called “Pepperidge farm animals”

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Thoughts on Mario Kart

The other night I was playing Mario Kart Wii (and drinking) and I realized something fairly disturbing.


Anyone who’s played any of the Mario games from Nintendo knows the point of the game is to rescue the Princess from Bowser, who has kidnapped her. In each subsequent version of the Mario games, Bowser’s motives differ but the problem is the same; Princess Peach has been kidnapped.

The thing I found interesting is that both Princess Peach and Bowser are racers in Mario Kart.

Looks like all the kidnappings have made her into a badass.

Looks like all the kidnappings have made her into a badass.

Serial Kidnapper but still allowed to have public interaction with his victims.

Serial Kidnapper but still allowed to have public interaction with his victims.

I’ve never been kidnapped (crosses fingers) but I imagine if I had been, the last thing on Earth I’d want to do is have to interact with whoever kidnapped me MULTIPLE TIMES. Can you imagine how awkward that must be? Bowser’s probably the kind of person who would make snide, inappropriate comments just to make Princess Peach uncomfortable and probably try to trigger her PTSD. Who knows what kind of things she endured during her repeated periods of captivity!

Plus, at the end of the races, the top 3 winners stand on podiums together in front of cheering crowds. How incredibly uncomfortable and stressful must it be for Princess Peach to potentially stand on the podium next to Bowser if they both place? What Nintendo developer thought that could possibly end well?!

Then later on, I was racing Donkey Kong’s Jungle Parkway track and wondered if bananas had a higher drop rate on Donkey Kong’s course than other courses.

Then I immediately panicked that that thought was totally racist.

I don't think he cares.

I don’t think he cares.

Kids, this is why you don’t drink and play video games.

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Why I’m Leash-Training My Cat

Crazy Cat Lady: Level Eleventy

"Hahaha, look at that cat on a leash!"

“Hahaha, look at that cat on a leash!”

Let me start out by saying I did not set out with the intention of being “The Crazy Cat Lady”, but desperate times call for desperate measures.

Vash (short for Vashta Nerada) is currently 10 months old. He’s almost his full adult size, but still thinks he’s a teeny kitten and can careen all over my teeny 2/1 apartment. He’s got boundless amounts of energy that often manifest in destructive ways. I’ve bought, constructed, created and invented new and interesting toys for him to amuse himself with. I’m limited by both my budget and the fact that I rent an apartment, so there’s only so much building I can do.

He would make a great indoor/outdoor cat, but my apartment complex isn’t the safest environment for me to let him outside and feel comfortable that he won’t be run over or abused by a neighbor. Plus he has very few boundaries, so he’s likely to just wander into someone else’s apartment unannounced. “HELLO!”

I’d finally gotten fed up with his shenanigans one afternoon and bought him a cat harness and a simple lightweight leash. In my online research on how to best “wear him out”, I’d briefly run across cat leash training but dismissed it as pretty ridiculous. However, things had gotten to the point where I didn’t care how silly I/we looked. I just wanted him to SETTLE DOWN.

I snapped the harness and leash on him, scooped him up and took him outside and downstairs behind my apartment building where there’s almost no foot traffic. I set him down in the grass and waited to see what he would do.

At first, he crouched and stared. I regularly let both cats out on my balcony/porch, so he’s used to the smells outside. But being down in the dirt, grass and pine needles was a totally new experience for him. Within a few minutes, he was poking around into bushes, scratching pine trees and rolling in the dirt like a dog. I needed to run to the store to pick up cat food anyway, so I scooped him up, got my purse and keys and plopped him in the car with me.

Kitteh Joyride

Kitteh Joyride

I took him to Petco because they allow you to bring your pets in and they’re the closest place I can get Blue Buffalo cat food. (Product placement! Can I get a sponsor??!) Maybe if I fed him the cheap food, he’d get fat and lazy but look at that lustrous SHINE!

Needless to say, he was a rockstar in the store. He rode on my shoulder for a few minutes and then wanted to get down and explore. He even walked with me a little bit, let a little girl pet him and generally was a huge hit. Afterward, I rode him around in the car with me to play Ingress for a bit and when we got home, he SACKED OUT. Tired kitteh FTW!

So now I’ve taken him out a couple times. My son and I took him to the park with us this past weekend. There were a few laughs, but I let him roam around in the bushes and brambles a bit and he did just fine.



So while it may look odd and eccentric to have a cat outside on a leash, I feel like I’m being responsible for his well-being and also allowing him to get his little senses overstimulated and fry his indoor-kitteh brain a bit so he won’t IRRITATE THE HELL OUT OF ME ALL THE TIME. Win-win!

There’s a great article here about teaching your cat to accept a harness and leash. This is probably the best write-up I’ve found, though just about every Google result gives the same basic steps. You can’t expect a cat to trot alongside you the way a dog will, but you can teach them to slink and meander along with you without freaking out. The big bonus is that Vash loves it. He gets to “roam” outside and take the world in a bit, and I get some peace of mind.

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Doctor Who 101

Hard as it may be for any devoted Doctor Who fan to believe, some people don’t know about possibly the greatest sci-fi television show in history. I used to be one of these people myself, so I get it. On the surface, it seems silly, unrealistic and childish. But hear me out. Take a break from playing TripleTown or browsing Facebook/Google+/Reddit for just a moment and let me show you how much there is to love about this show.

The Doctor is a Time Lord, which is a long-dead race of people who were responsible for ensuring that time wasn’t altered or abused. The entire race was wiped out in the Time War with the Daleks (who my friend Brooke affectionately refers to as “The Trashcan Monsters”). The Daleks hate everything that isn’t a Dalek and their ultimate goal is to wipe out every other race in the universe.



One of the themes in the show is that The Doctor himself was responsible for wiping out both races in order to end the war, and has lived with that burden for over 900 years. But wait, weren’t they wiped out? Yes, but due to multiple timelines, some survived in various ways so they’re still working on either killing or converting every living species into more Daleks.

"Excuse us. Do you have a moment to talk about Dalek conversion?"

“Excuse us. Do you have a moment to talk about Dalek conversion?”

In order to keep the show running back in the 60’s, after the original actor left, producers had The Doctor “die” and regenerate into a new body. This is why there have been so many people who’ve played The Doctor over the years. Each time the character regenerates, he has a new body and face, and has to figure out what kind of person he is. The show is currently on its eleventh Doctor, played by Matt Smith. Same man, new face and personality.

Regeneration of the 10th Doctor to the 11th.

Regeneration of the 10th Doctor to the 11th.

The first episode I watched was Blink, which ironically features very little of The Doctor himself. However, the episode illustrates very well the idea that he’s a time traveler and sometimes overlaps his own lifetime, meeting people who know him before he’s actually interacted with them. (How’s that for a mind twist?) The episode is also totally creepy, and introduces the Weeping Angels, arguably one of the best villains of the entire show. This is also where the phrase “Don’t Blink” originated.

If you blink or look away, they move. And then they get you.

If you blink or look away, they move. And then they get you.

Even if you haven’t watched Doctor Who in years, you can still catch up with it easily. Many of the episodes stand alone or are two-parters, and while it helps to know who the monsters are and to follow the series chronologically, you can still enjoy it without a lot the back story. Much of it is easy to pick up as you go along.

The Doctor almost always travels with a companion, some willing and some thrown into the story with very little choice. Usually, The Doctor will travel with the same companion(s) throughout his tenure on the show, with a few exceptions. They all bring something unique to the story though, and every fan has their favorites or that one companion they just can’t stand.

Most of the new series companions

Most of the new series companions

Doctor Who doesn’t dumb anything down for you. The Doctor is intelligent, his companions are intelligent in their own ways and the show assumes its audience is intelligent too. The writers leave clues littered around for you to pick up on throughout each season, making it the ultimate show for smart people. Many themes are repeated throughout multiple seasons and the writers are masters of the “callback”, referencing prior characters and themes.

There’s a very palpable underlying pathos to the overall storyline, as you watch The Doctor have to deal with his past, his guilt and losing people he cares about. But laid over top of that are a lot of fun one-liners and witty humor that makes the show extremely entertaining to watch. If you’re a sci-fi fan and haven’t watched any of it, I recommend giving it a shot.

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Day Brightened

I had a really rough morning today. Vash decided last night that my new-to-me leather couch was a good place to “relieve himself”, so he’s currently exiled to the back porch with food, water and litter for the day until I can pick up some cleaner. Ugh.

I spent the 20-minute drive to work in a HORRIBLE mood. I managed to get there early, so I decided “Screw it! I’m getting Starbucks!” and drove an extra two miles past work to get some breakfast and caffeine.


We make you feel better. And more awake.

The way the Starbucks near my work is set up, there are two entrances. So often times there are two perpendicular lines of cars that have to merge, take turns, etc., to actually get into the drive-thru lane. And a lot of times people are dicks about it. (Insert Wil Wheaton’s rule here.)

I had 2 to 3 cars behind me and 1 car perpendicular to me, waiting to pull into the drive-thru. I decided to let the woman in the perpendicular car go ahead of me, and so waved her through. The minivan behind me did that “What are you doing? Did you forget you’re in line??” scootch toward me but I was still so pissy I didn’t care.


The woman that I let go ahead of me took longer than usual and was chatty with the drive-thru person, which irritated me a little because by then I was running short on time. I finally got up to the window, went to hand the drive-thru chick my card and she said “Actually, the woman ahead of you paid for your order.”

I blinked and said, “Really??”

She said “Yeah, she said you let her go ahead of you in line so I think that’s why.”

My bad mood instantly melted. It actually made me a little teary that someone would be thoughtful enough, with no prospect of thanks or reward, to pay for a stranger’s order. (I may be a little emotional today.) I know it happens, but it’s never happened to me before and it couldn’t have come at a better time.

The Doctor, the Widow and the Wardrobe

“Don’t mind me. Just wiping tears. Nothing to see here.”

Sometimes, all it takes is a random smile or an unexpected small act of kindness to turn someone’s entire day around. You never know what other people may be dealing with and what kind of impact your actions may have on them. 

So go out and pay it forward. Or backward, if you’re buying someone’s coffee. And Unidentified Woman, if you happen to come across this post, thank you.

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Cat Ownership ROI

People have pets for several reasons. Animals as a general rule don’t get mad at you for leaving the toilet seat up or for not taking out the garbage. Each kind of animal comes with its own rewards. Furry animals tend to be pleasant to handle. Reptiles are neat to look at and satisfy a morbid curiosity about life and death, since you generally feed them live food. Fish are calming and challenging together, since they require some maintenance to keep their environment livable.

You could say that all pets have an ROI (Return On Investment). As a general rule, the positives outweigh the negatives in ownership.

I have two cats. Evie is a thirteen year old medium-hair tortoiseshell kitty I adopted from the local humane society back in 2001. She’s fat like a beach ball and is the sweetest, most lovey kitty I’ve ever seen. She follows me around the house and “talks” to me in her sweet little kitty voice. She’s never had litterbox issues and has never destroyed anything.

Evie’s ROI is very high.

Evie Kitty!

So sweet!

Then there’s Vash.

I adopted Vash as a kitten from the humane society in June of this year. I wanted to get another kitty to keep Evie company and she’s experienced at smacking kittens into shape. Little did I know what she and I both were in for.

Vashta Nerada

I mean, look at this face. I should have known.

Since he’s solid black, and because I’m a huge nerd, I named him Vashta Nerada after the carnivorous shadow creatures from Doctor Who. And since Vashta Nerada is hard to yell when you’re furious, his nickname is Vash.

I’ve owned a few kittens in the past and they all come with their own quirks and personality. Vash is an over-achiever. If you can think of a thing you’ve heard a kitten do, he’s done it. If you can think of a thing you’ve heard a dog  do, he’s probably also done it. Owning him is the equivalent of owning a Jack Russell puppy with the grace and reflexes of a cat. Following is a short list of things he either does or has done.

  • Jumps on tables and countertops
  • Destroys rolls of toilet paper
  • Steals food that is left sitting for more than ten seconds
  • Tries to “liberate” the Betta fish from his fishbowl
  • Steals cotton swabs and cotton balls
  • Steals food out of the garbage (even if it’s been sealed in plastic bags)
  • Tears open sealed garbage bags
  • Careens off walls and sliding glass doors at a level of 4-5 feet
  • Steals jewelry
  • Shreds plastic shower curtain liners
  • Chews on shoes
  • Steals and destroys straws
  • Irritates Evie to the point of “hissing matches”
Vashta Nerada

Oh hai! I am an unholy terror!

He does have his positives.

  • He’s extremely adorable.
  • He purrs CONSTANTLY

This one was discovered fairly quickly. The carnage has been worse.

Vash’s ROI is currently low.

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Time Wasters – Volume 1: Kingdom Age

Welcome to the inaugural volume of Time Wasters! My vision for this series is to review internet-based games that you can play while you should be doing other things and let you know which ones are good and which ones are either frustrating or just plain terrible.

Since this is the first post in the series, I’m starting off with a game I’m currently playing called Kingdom Age.

If you can’t tell, the version I’m screenshotting is from Google+ Games. This will become relevant later.

Kingdom Age is a warrior RPG based loosely on D&D rules and is a mix between a hero game and a city-management game. I say it’s based loosely on D&D rules because you initially get to pick a class for your hero (either a Warrior, Mage or Rogue), you level up your abilities based on what skills you want to focus on (Army Attack, Army Defense, Stamina and Hero Strength) and you get to kill very familiar D&D monsters.

In addition, you’re in charge of building and managing a city and army, and attacking or invading other players’ cities.

The player interface has icons on the left that guide you through various quests to perform and sort of nudge you in a semi-successful direction. The quests alone don’t provide you with everything you’ll need to be able to obliterate other players, but they do show you quickly how things operate and try to throw in a little bit of story so at least you’re not running around all wily-nily just hacking stuff.

The problem is that the stories are short-lived blurbs that have no depth so I can’t even remember what the giant rats have done (other than being giant rats) that warrants wiping them out once I actually get to the battle screen.

There’s also not much sport because all your targets have huge green neon arrows hovering over them. So it ends up being a “hack-n-slash of whatever’s highlighted” rather than feeling like an “adventure”. The monsters are labeled, so it wouldn’t be hard to hunt them down even without the “HEY, HE’S OVER HERE! RIGHT HERE!” green arrows. I’ve played hours and hours of Baldur’s Gate, Icewind Dale, etc and this is like someone setting an anesthetized rat down in front of me and handing me a gun.

Attacking other players is a bit more fun, mostly because you can see the approximate size of their army but you don’t know what kind of units they have. So there’s the potential to get into a battle with someone who has 15 Paladins when you’re working with an assortment of Foot Soldiers and Archers.

The problem that comes in is when you decide to get serious and start upgrading so you can get some real muscle. That’s where they get you.

Ahh, the old “ADD ALL YOUR FRIENDS OR YOU CAN’T HAVE THIS ZOMG!” trick. Very early on, you run into quests like “Build an Alchemy” that require you to either ask people to send you junk or pay to get gems in the game in order to purchase your supplies. I have to be REALLY DEEPLY into a game *cough*Lord of Ultima*cough* in order to spend money on it. This tells me right away that there’s only so far I’m going to be able to progress in the game unless I either A) cough up actual money in order to advance or B) manage to find other people playing that are willing to trade me for necessary items in the game.

I LOATHE  the Farmville-style tactics that require you to ask people to help you with your games. It annoyed the hell out of me on Facebook and I refuse to contribute to it anywhere else because it really is irritating to have your feed/stream/whatever filled with requests for help on a game you’re not interested in. It clutters up the reason I’m ON a social network. If I want to play a game, I shouldn’t be REQUIRED to recruit people to play with me in order to continue playing and enjoying it.

Because of this, I downloaded Kingdom Age on my iPhone to see if the gameplay was substantially different. The biggest differences I found were;

  • Ability to upgrade any building
  • Daily “Scratch and Win” that adds a random item to your inventory or arsenal (I just opened it and won a Shredder Ballista, which I haven’t seen anywhere in the G+ game).
  • Army size isn’t dependent on the number of farms and cottages you build. Whereas the G+ game requires you to upgrade or build more cottages to increase your army size and farms in order to feed more troops, those buildings are strictly money generators on the iOS app.
  • More choices of army units, including siege weapons, beasts, etc.
  • Less gold earned/dropped, which is how the game throttles your progress.
  • Unable to accurately determine army size of other players when attacking/invading. (Oh, the suspense!)
  • Ability to damage/demolish/raid buildings in other players’ cities when invading.
  • You can add allies, but you have to have their game code in order to do it. There’s no in-game list to arbitrarily add allies you don’t personally know.

Dire Bear FTW!

The game is much more enjoyable to play on iOS. There’s also an independent browser-based version that I haven’t tackled yet that I’m planning to try out.

All said and done, I would avoid this one on social networks but it’s worth playing as a mobile app.

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Shirt of the Now – Friday, 9/28/2012


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From “GAH!” to “SQUEEEE!” in less than an hour.

I’m a fairly new Doctor Who convert, compared to some. A friend sat me down about 2 years ago and made me watch “Blink” (New Season 3, Ep. 10). I was hooked instantly. I began working my way through back episodes, devouring storylines and learning as much as I could about the characters and the mythology. I now own a Sonic Screwdriver (10th Doctor) and more than half a dozen Doctor Who themed t-shirts. I share Dalek jokes on Google+. I have a 6-foot cardboard standup TARDIS in my living room. It’s ridiculous how much I love this show.

Then I saw a link to this;

Doctor Who / Star Trek: TNG Crossover Comic

I wouldn’t describe myself as a Trekkie, per se. I’m more of an enthusiastic watcher. But Star Trek: TNG was one of my favorite shows on tv for a long time. And my first reaction to seeing this comic book cover was

“Ughhhh. No no. This is a bad idea.”

I’m not a big fan of cross-overs. In my experience, the goal of a cross-over show, book, comic, etc has usually been to boost sales or viewers for a failing project. In my mind, neither of these awesome shows were even remotely close to failure so a cros-over was completely unnecessary and was bound to be cheesy.


I clicked through the link to see just how bad it appeared to be. I wanted to be able to intelligently say “This is a terrible idea! Here’s why!”

I soon figured out the second issue was out at the time, so it was still early in the storyline. My next logical thought was whether the first issue was available anywhere online. I found myself sliding down that slope into “hunt mode”. You know, that feeling you get when you’re tracking down something that may not be readily available but YOU’RE going to find it! And then you’re going to hold it high over your head as if to say “BEHOLD MY AWESOME SEARCH POWERS!”

About the time I found myself wondering where the nearest comic book shop was in relation to my office, I stopped. How the heck did I get here? Not even fifteen minutes prior I’d been wrinkling my nose at the entire idea. Somehow it had grown on me and instead of fighting it, I decided to embrace it.

Oh wait! There’s a comic book shop ten minutes away!

I’ve never been a comic book geek. I’m a HUGE internet geek. I’ve played D&D, prefer RPGs to FPSs, etc. I just never got into comics. However, I hopped in the car and drove through lunch-hour traffic to see if I could possibly get my hands on a second issue.

The shop was almost completely empty when I walked in, except for the clerk. I nonchalantly started scanning the shelves to see if I could possibly find what I was looking for before I had to admit I had no idea where to look. I tried to appear as if I knew what I was doing, that I’d done this hundreds of times before. Apparently, I didn’t do a stellar job because a voice chimed in from behind me saying “Are you looking for something in particular?”

“Umm…yes. Do you have the Star Trek: TNG/Doctor Who crossover?”

“No, we’re sold out. Sorry.”

My heart kind of sank a little. Well, crap.

“I can get Chip to see if he can order it for you, though.”

I followed the clerk and waited at the register as he went through a door behind the counter. Then he came out following another man. Chip turned out to be a lean, older guy, probably in his mid-50’s, who’d obviously been a nerd his entire life. He was awesome. He took down my information and said he’d do his best to try to get me a #2, though it would take a couple weeks.

Then he said a magical, wonderful phrase.

“Do you need the first issue as well?”

“Yes, actually! Can you get one?”

He smiled and walked to a shelf behind the counter. “I can do better than that. I have one left. Someone ordered it and changed their mind, so I put it aside in case anyone came looking for it.”

I literally let out a “Squeeeeee!” and may have even clapped my hands together. My excitement at tracking down this comic had grown to the point where finding the first issue unexpectedly became almost akin to finding a copy of “Fantastic Four #1”. (See how far I’ve come?)

Achievement Unlocked

It’s amazing how an idea can morph and grow in your head, especially when you have to work for it. It suddenly becomes so much more valuable because of the effort you put into achieving or finding it. The thrill of the hunt can turn even the most mild interest into an exciting adventure. For me, that’s part of being a geek. The thrill and excitement of learning about something new that builds and builds until it totally bubbles over.

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