Story Time with Sean – Backpacking

I can’t believe I let my dad convince me to do this. We’re on the third hour of this seemingly eternal drive away from civilization. Mountains and forests are all I can see for miles and miles. “We’re almost there!” my dad excitedly exclaims. He’s happy because his city boy son finally decided to brave the great outdoors with him. Backpacking. That’s what we’re up to. Even as we pull into the parking lot for the trailhead, I still cannot wrap my head around how hiking miles and miles up a mountain with a 60 pound pack on my back and spending a few nights in the forest is supposed to be fun.

Here we are though. At the foot of the mountain. It’s early. It’s cold. The ground is pretty damp from snowmelt. I haven’t got much optimism at this point. I admit, it is awfully peaceful and beautiful, but it’s not the kind of place I’d care to be for more than a few hours. But here I am, trying to make my dad happy. We strap in, and start to make our way uphill.

The backpack isn’t all that bad. 60 pounds seems like a lot, especially when just a few books in my school backpack would weigh me down like no other. But the backpack I’ve got comes with much more back support, so the 60 pounds doesn’t seem heavy at all. My fears of being unable to make it up the mountain are starting to go away. Well, until the trail just disappears off the face of the earth. My dad seems unfazed as he just starts cutting his own path up the mountain. I see a couple of other people making it up the mountain doing the exact same thing, so I guess it’s just standard practice to blaze your own trail when one fades away.

As we’re slogging our way up the slippery rocks and loose gravel that make up the side of this mountain, I hear “Is that Sean Harris?” The world is truly a small place. Coming down the mountain is three of my high school friends with their own fathers. Yes, this moment of random is really happening. We have a quick little conversation full of surprise and “what the heck are you doing here?”, and with a few parting words they’re back to heading down and we’re back to heading up. To this day, it still amazes me that I ran into some high school friends on some random mountain in the middle of nowhere more than a hundred miles away from where we all lived.

Up and up we went until the ground finally leveled out and we ended up on a trail through the forest. It really is beautiful and serene here, with the forest canopy creating almost a tunnel effect on the trail we’re on. The fresh greens of spring are bright as ever. Eventually, we reach what we’ve been looking for. The Loch Levin lakes. Picture a perfect landscape in your mind, and this view was ten times better. It’s the kind of view that I normally saw only on post cards. The lake was colored this serene shade of blue, and there was this island right smack in the middle of it covered with trees. The mountains behind the lake were covered in the deepest green layer of trees, and there was barely a cloud in the sky. If I were a nature photographer I’d be wetting my pants at this point. Maybe coming out on this trip wasn’t a bad idea at all. Me and my dad found a flat spot near the edge of the lake, and we set up camp.

The sun’s beating down pretty hard. There’s no way for me to know what time it is, but the sun directly overhead tells me that it’s time for a swim. Especially with me being all sweaty from hiking up a mountain with that backpack on. I thought it’d be refreshing, especially since I was pretty tired from the hike. I decide to let my Dad finish up setting up camp while I take a swim in the lake. I quickly get down into my swim trunks, and make my way over to the lake. I tip toe my way into the water, letting my body get used to the cold before finally letting myself fall in fully and accepting the cold in one swoop. That island out in the middle of the lake seems pretty inviting, so I start making my way out there. Arm over arm, kick kick kick. Look sideways to breathe. Swimming just like how I learned. I start feeling fatigued much quicker than I thought I would. I look up and the island is still at least 50 feet away. I could barely hold myself above water at this point, and my muscles weren’t paying attention to me at all anymore. They’re burning so badly that the cold of the water means nothing at all to them. I realized then that I wasn’t going to make it to the island. I gave up.

Hitting the bottom of the lake happened much faster than I thought it would. My head had just barely gotten swallowed by the surface of the lake. Maybe I’m not in as much trouble as I think I am. I hop up off the bottom of the lake and there I am above water again. This looks like it’ll work. A couple leaps forward and that island is looking closer and closer. Finally, I can stand on the bottom of the lake with my head above water. Drowning avoided by blind luck. I’ll take it. The island feels like paradise. It even has a tiny little beach to it. I lie down in the sand and relax and let sleep come and get me. I wake up who knows how long later to the sound of my dads muffled yells from shore. Can’t have slept too long. The sun looks like it’s in the same spot I left it before. At least now I feel refreshed and ready to take on the lake once more. Not taking any chances this time around, I walk my way out to the farthest point I can, then swim my way back to shore. No problems at all this time. I decide to keep my near drowning experience a secret from my Dad, because why make him worry.

The rest of the day is spent doing a little more hiking up the mountains, exploring the rest of the lake, and reading a book under the setting sun. Night comes and brings clouds along with it. Rain comes soon after, and the constant tapping of water drops on the outside of our tent let me know that it’s here to stay all night. It’s pretty easy to fall asleep with the sound of rain all around.

“Ahh fuck”. My Dad’s exclamation is the first thing I hear that morning. I sit up from bed and hear water splash around. Wait, why is there water splashing? It takes my brain a second to figure out what’s happening. We’re flooded. There must have been a leak in the bottom of our tent, because I’ve apparently woken up in about 2 inches of water. Our sleeping bags kept us dry all night, so nobody noticed until my Dad woke up. Yeah, we can’t do this another night. Everything but ourselves is soaked through. No way we can stay here, especially when it looks like more clouds are getting ready to start rolling in. So we pack up and wring out whatever water we can from our belongings. The trek back is even scarier going downhill. Everything is slick as ice. We do as much sliding downhill as we do walking. Finally, the parking lot shows itself in the distance.

We made it back.

 

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Awesome Concert Stories – Swag

If I’m at a concert, I’m in the front row about 90% of the time. I’m that guy that shows up to concerts hours early just so I can get the exact spot that I want. Being at the front row of shows has afforded me a somewhat small collection of swag, such as guitar picks and set lists. So this post will just be a rundown of how I got certain things, and who knows, maybe you’ll pick up a few tips and tricks to getting some cool items from your favorite band.

The first thing I ever got was a guitar pick from a band called The Pillows. I stuck around the stage after the show had finished up, and noticed that there was a guitar pick that was leftover on the floor of the stage. I waited until one of the stage hands looked like he was free, then I asked him politely if he could grab the guitar pick for me, and he did! So it helps to be nice to the people working the concert. The guitar pick is pretty sweet too. No pictures of it since it’s back home in California, but it actually has the logo of Buster-Kun, the Pillows mascot on one side of it.

A few other guitar picks I’ve gotten have come to me in various ways. I got a guitar pick from St Lucia because I was apparently the only one to notice it just lying on the ground next to one of the speakers, so I asked one of the security guys to grab it for me and he actually did. I got a guitar pick from Rise Against because the camera guy wanted a picture of himself in front of the stage, so he asked me to do it in exchange for a guitar pick. I gladly obliged him. Another guitar pick I got was from Marina and the Diamonds. At the end of the show, their guitarist tossed out a few of them into the crowd and when that happens it’s near impossible to catch one. They usually end up scattered around everywhere. I immediately whipped out my phone and turned the flashlight on and found one on the ground next to me. Stepped on it to claim it’s mine and picked it up as soon as I could. Cool pick too, since it actually says Marina and the Diamonds on it.

The first set list I got is pretty special to me because the guy is actually getting pretty famous these days. It started with me waiting in line for a musician named Mr Little Jeans. Of course I was first in line and I just happened to be hours early for the show. While waiting outside, someone came out the venue and started making small talk with me. I had no idea who this guy was so I was just being polite and talked to him for a bit before he went back inside. It wasn’t until I saw the guy walk out on stage that I realized I had talked to the lead singer of the opening act. They put on a hell of a show and I made it a point to ask their roadie for their set list afterwards. Oh the name of that band? Borns, who is getting plenty of radio play these days for the song Electric Love. I also ended up with the set list from Mr Little Jeans as well. Her keyboardist must of recognized me from being in line so long, because after the show he walked right up to me and handed me his set list.

One of the more random set lists I got had to be from Young the Giant, because I didn’t even try for it in the first place and I even tried to give it away. During the show, this really drunk girl who must have been their biggest fan ended up behind me and practically begged me to let her have the front row just for their set. Me being me said yes and she proceeded to have the time of her life as she screamed and yelled the lyrics to all their songs from the very front. And she was gracious as well because after they got off the stage, she actually gave me my spot back without any hassle at all. Literally seconds after she had disappeared back into the crowd, the stage crew started tossing stuff off the stage into the audience. I wasn’t even paying any attention to the stage at all when all of a sudden this crumpled piece of paper hits me in the face and lands in my arms. I’m all like “wtf is this” and I open it up and it ends up being a set list. That took no work at all from me to get. Now, I’m not the biggest Young the Giant fan at all so my first reaction was to find that girl and give her the set list, but she was long gone sadly. If only she had stayed up front for a few more seconds her night would have been perfect, but I ended up with the spoils.

Maybe the weirdest thing I’ve ever gotten from a concert has to be my purple bear. Purple bear you say? What the heck does that even mean? Well see, I was at this K-Pop concert. Infinite was the band. Yes they’re a boy band don’t judge. Me and my best friend originally had seats, but for some reason we got randomly handed floor tickets so we ended up down with all the crazy fans that had paid way too much to be close to these random Korean boys. So we’re watching them up on stage and generally having a pretty good time, when halfway through they all somehow end up with gift baskets filled with stuffed animals. They start tossing them out into the audience, and lo and behold one of them comes straight to me. Seeing as I was one of the lone males and being about a foot taller than all the preteens around me, I was able to just reach my hand up and pluck it out the sky. Purple bear acquired. Oh the evil looks I got from the people around me. I still have it too. It’s sitting in my car, just chilling on my passenger side door.

I’ve still yet to catch myself a drumstick. I’ve been pretty close at times (stupid Andy), but still no luck. It’s my white whale of mementos from shows. One of these days I’ll get one. All I can do is keep going to concerts, and hope that one of these days one of those sticks will just magically fall into my hands.

Story Time with Sean – Appendixes

I made it. The last month of school before summer break. Just one more month to go and sweet sweet vacation will become a reality. Sophmore year has been full of awkward moments that can finally be put in the back burner because holy heck I can actually see summer from here. This last month is just going to breeze by. A few final projects and final exams here and there, and soon enough it’ll be the last week of school and I’ll be out of here.

Hell, some of these projects even seem pretty fun. Just like the one I’m doing today. English project. Their Eyes Were Watching God is the book. I’ve even got some pretty awesome groupmates to do this with. Miguel and Joban. Two guys with ideas just as ridiculous as mine. We came up with the idea to make a video of one of the scenes from the book. Yes, us three guys are going to act out a scene from a book where there are predominantly female characters. Don’t question us. I would be playing the pivotal role of the grandmother, because yes that’s what every high school boy dreams to be. This project has potential.

We meet up in a park near school as planned. It’s our weekend and we could be doing happier and lazier things, but hey school comes first right? And I’m born ready for my premier role as a grandmother. Joban even brought one of his moms dresses from home for my wardrobe. Even if just by looking at the dress his mom seems to be twice my height, I’m going to rock this outfit if it’s the last thing I do. Lets start filming because I am ready to be captured on that silver screen. That’s when the pain stabs me in the stomach, and I genuinely wonder if being in this dress really is the last thing I’ll ever do.

The 90 degree California sun does not help at all. I’m being roasted here, hunched over in a black and white floral muumuu while this pain is surging through my body. This isn’t one of those comfortable and familiar pains. This is a brand new, piercing agony throughout my body. I can’t take this anymore. I can feel the sickness rising up my throat. I barely make it to a trashcan, and I let loose all that acid from within. Any hopes I had that throwing up would help alleviate my pain were quickly dashed away by yet another sharp twang from the left side of my stomach. If this is what being stabbed feels like, I think I’ll pass on making close acquaintances with knives.

My parents snatch me up in a hurry. They know me as the type to never complain about anything at all, so this is brand new to them as well. Thankfully Joban had the sense to get me out of his moms dress before my parents picked me up. At home, I lied down on the couch, seeing as that was the only position that gave me any inkling of comfort. I felt my eyelids get heavy, and sleep decided to wash over me. I awoke to the sounds of pages being turned and the evening news puttering off in the distance. My moms got her head buried in a medical handbook. The pain is still there, though it seems to have traveled to the right side of my stomach now. My mom starts giving me the inquisition. How bad does it hurt? How long has it hurt for? What did you eat this morning? Where does it hurt? The answer to that last question piques her interest, and there she goes flipping through the medical handbook yet again. Why does the pain moving from the left side of my body to the right mean so much to her? Detective mom at work. And there she goes shoving the book in my face. “Pain moving from the left side of the stomach to the right side”. There it is, listed right there under symptoms of appendicitis. Awesome. Hospital time for me.

Waiting for a doctor is always kind of nerve racking. I’m just sitting here trying not to focus on the worst case scenario. I can’t even do it in silence because every little move I make causes this stupid butcher paper I’m sitting on to crunch. All these posters of the human body seem like they’re staring right through me. And these pamphlets ranging from how to live a healthy lifestyle to the special needs to a growing teenager have my mind racing in more directions I can handle. Finally that door handle clicks, and the doctor is in. Stern looking guy. He has a goatee. He immediately pokes at my stomach with some cold hands. No it doesn’t hurt there. Not their either. Yes, that’s where it hurts. Yes, it hurt on one side and now it hurts on the other. Oh that’s bad? Put on this hospital gown? Uhh okay. Wait why are you giving me a hospital gown that doesn’t close up in the back? Is that normal? Whatever I’m just gonna go along with it. Okay you’re gonna do some blood tests? Alright then oh whoa hey that’s a pretty thick needle and you’re gonna stick that in the inner part of my elbow? Ouch. That’s not comfortable at all man. Ahh hey that’s my blood filling that tube. That looks pretty unsettling. Yeah, IV tubes are no fun. Let’s not get any more of these.

Looks like I’ll be spending some time here while they wait for my test results. Hospital beds and beige walls aren’t how I pictured I’d be spending my time right about now. The worst part is I can’t even sleep since I just got done napping not too long ago. Thankfully they’ve got me on some sort of pain meds and it’s keeping my stomach in check. I quickly learn that bending the arm my IV tube is stuck in is a sharp way to be reminded I’m in a hospital. Time keeps running by and every so often a nurse comes and checks up on me. This nurse ain’t friendly at all though, so I don’t really look forward to her visits. She kinda just sticks her head in, grunts at me, checks my IV fluids, and bumbles away. Finally, I win the battle against my conscious and sleep finally takes hold of me.

Is it morning already? Ahh the perils of sleeping in a room with no windows. Heck I don’t even have my phone or a watch on me to check the time. I imagine it must be some god awful time of morning. Who knows at this point. I look over at what woke me up and it’s that same nurse grunting at me. What a sight to behold with these freshly awake eyes. Shes got more of a frown on than usual. I wonder what’s wrong. Oh she’s holding my IV tube. Uh oh, it looks like it got backed up while I was sleeping. I’m no doctor, but I don’t think that fluid should be pink. Guess my blood was starting to fight back a little bit. Well that’s not amusing at all to my nurse here. She starts prowling through some of the drawers in the room. She plunges her arm into one and emerges with a syringe. Still silent, she sticks the syringe into a plug in my IV tube and I see all that pinkish fluid quickly disappear. But wait, if it’s not being sucked into the syringe then where is it oh my god she’s pumping everything into my arm please help this is not a good feeling at all. Just a rush of cold in little streams down my arm. And with just as much fanfare as she came in with, my nurse walked right on out.

My doctor and the parentals are the next to barge in.  Good news, test results are in. Bad news, yep you’ve got appendicitis. And it’s worse than we thought. You’ll be getting surgery to have it removed pronto. Well, whatever. Lets just get this over with. This whole thing has been weird enough as it already. I’m also pretty much done with having this constant sharp pain in my side, so please fix me? Heck, maybe I’ll even get to keep my appendix, just like in that one episode of Sister Sister. They gotta transfer me to a different hospital though. Something about my current one being unprepared for it. Like really, you’re a hospital in the ghettos of Richmond and you’re not prepared for a simple appendectomy? But you’re totally cool with people coming in with gunshot wounds and knife stabs right there on the spot. Whatever hospital. Your call. I assume it’ll be my parents driving me to the new hospital, but that’s not in the plans at all. We can’t have you disconnect from your IV tube now can we? You’ll be transported via ambulance. Heck yes. Always wanted to ride in one of those guys.

In no time at all, some EMT’s come into my room and wheel me out. Now these two are living proof that opposites attract. She’s this tiny little thing that’s more smile than face. He’s bald and grim and the owner of biceps the size of my head. The mouse and the bull I call them in my head. We get outside and that nighttime cold smacks me right in the face. Guess I wasn’t asleep as long as I thought I was. We get up to the ambulance, and at that moment I realize why my EMT’s are paired up. The mouse hops up into the back of the ambulance, and in one giant heave the bull lifts me up entirely by himself while the girl gently guides me in and locks my gurney in place. My mom hops in the back, the doors slam shut and the bull is driving. I take a second to get used to being in an ambulance and find it isn’t all I’ve dreamed of. All I can smell is this sickening mix of bleach and old blood. The walls are lined with cabinets packed to the brim with gauze and needles and band aids. How do these EMT’s even do this? Do they really save lives back here?

A pothole here, swerving around a bad driver there, and we are bouncing. Definitely not the smoothest drive. My IV tube isn’t taking too kindly to all this excitement. It’s making a racket up against the wall of the ambulance. Clack, clack, click, clack. Can’t even think straight. After a few seconds of this noise pollution, the mouse hops up,  takes a band aid out of one of the cabinets, and sticks my IV tube to the side of the ambulance. There we go, no more noise. Yeah, she might have done this a few times before. Our new found awkward silence quickly turns into a lot of happy chatter from the mouse. Yeah, she’s definitely done this a few times before. The ride flies by and next thing I know we’re here in Oakland. Ahh great, she even remembered to unstick me from the side of the ambulance. Another heave ho from the bull and he’s got me out the back of the ambulance. One last wave to the mouse, and I’m through those hospital doors. At that point, the bull mutters the only words I hear him speak the entire time. Good luck kid. And with that, they’re gone.

Here in the lobby, I seem to be forgotten. Even though it’s the middle of the night, everyone seems to be in a rush. It’s one nurse darting one way, a doctor rushing another. Loud voices seem to be calling from every direction. It looks like pure confusion. Finally, I see two nurses in the distance looking over at me and talking. One is gorgeous, and the other is hideous. Omg omg they’re both walking my direction please choose me no wait why don’t walk past me no no no. My usual luck rings true as I’m pushed away by the grouchiest looking nurse on the planet. I’m wheeled into this tiny little room where my doctor meets up with me one last time before the surgery. No questions? Alright then here we go.

The hospital lights fly past me as I’m wheeled down hallway after hallway. It’s exactly like scenes from a medical TV show. An older looking doctor even pokes his head out through a door as he sees me passing by to wish me luck and to stay strong. Is the director about to pop his head out and yell cut? I finally reach probably the whitest room I’ve ever seen. Seriously, perfectly clean is an understatement for this place. It’s so white that I can’t tell how big the room is because the walls blend in with the floor. Remember that scene in the Matrix where Neo and Morpheus are standing in a purely white room and all of a sudden all these guns fly by them? Yeah, it was kinda like that, except without all the firepower. The only color I see comes from a blue cloth lined with silver medical instruments, and a tiny little window near the top. Wonder if there’s actually an audience up there. I’m suddenly surrounded by a few doctors and here we go. One of them sticks something into my IV tube and the last color I see is black.

I’m awake. Where am I? Oh that’s right. I guess the surgery went decently alright if I’m still alive at this point. It takes a few seconds for me to grasp my surroundings. I’m stuck in the corner of this room that seems to be the post-surgery waiting room. It’s just filled to the brim with people lying on hospital gurneys. Everyone looks like a complete mess. Disheveled would be an understatement for some of the guys in here. Although I’m now one of them and I haven’t had access to a mirror in awhile so who knows how I’m looking at the moment. Various beeps and moans fill the room. The guy next to me seems to be the most vocal, although none of his words seem to be directed my way. He’s complaining about his foot to nurses that don’t seem to care. I glance down towards his feet and yep, they’re looking a little rough around the edges there buddy, no wonder you’re complaining so much. Oh yeah, I had surgery myself didn’t I? I try looking down but everything’s covered up by some blankets. I try and sit up but a sharp twang of pain tells me not to do that anymore. Looks like I’m stuck here for now. A nurse notices I’m awake and asks how I’m doing. Okay I guess. She disappears around the corner to make a phone call and the next person I see is the grump master nurse walking in and pushing me away.

I find myself being wheeled into a quite different part of the hospital than what I’ve grown accustomed to. The walls are bright and colorful. There’s cutesy paintings everywhere. Oh great, they’ve got me in the children’s ward. I guess being 15 still makes me a kid. I get pushed into what appears to be my room, and I meet my first ever roommate. Poor kid. He’s got to be only about 7-8 years old. Wonder what he’s in here for. I’m sure I’ll find out soon enough. I’m reunited with my parents and they seem happy enough to see me. The room gets pretty crowded with my parents, my roommates family, and a bunch of doctors and nurses running in and out checking up on us. Just from the friendly small talk between my family and my roommates, I find out that the kid is in there for having migraines. Seriously, poor kid.

I’m getting pretty sleepy though. The commotion in the room seems to have died down for now at least. Seems like the perfect time to take a nap. Kind of weird to be sleepy after being knocked out for surgery but maybe it just wasn’t the right kind of sleep. I feel myself starting to slip away but my peace is cut short by a series of loud beeps from one of the machines I’m attached to. Wonder what that means? I start falling asleep again, but for a second time I get attacked by the loud beeps. One of the nurses comes over and tells me not to worry about it. So I guess I shouldn’t worry about it. Can’t get much sleep with the machine going off every few seconds though. Suddenly, some random EMT is fiddling around with my machine. Who is this guy and where did he come from and why is he here? Seriously, he seemingly appeared out of thin air. He starts shaking my shoulder. Hey, wake up! Don’t fall asleep. You might not wake up if you sleep now. Okay buddy, I’m wide awake now. The EMT rushes out the room and quickly comes back with a doctor. They tell me that the beeps I was hearing meant that my blood oxygen level was getting dangerously low. Especially since I was falling asleep and my breathing and getting slower and slower. So much so that I might have passed out from oxygen deprivation if I had fallen asleep. Thank you random EMT. The doctor explains that they might have given me too much anesthetic when putting me under, and the effects are still lingering in my body. The doctor leaves and then comes back with a machine that looks like the first prototype for a breathalyzer. Apparently I’m supposed to breathe as much air into this machine as possible. Oh right, exercising my lungs to make them actually retain oxygen again. Makes sense to me. Looks like I’m stuck with this machine for now. No sleep for me.

Between sessions on the breathing machine and assuring my parents that I feel fine now, I get the chance to finally peek at my stomach. All that’s there is a small patch of cloth that’s been taped down. Only color to it is this little yellow stain peeking through the cloth. Hopefully I haven’t sprung a leak. My parents leave for the night and it’s down to just me, my roommate, and his mom. She apparently sleeps on the couch in the room to be with her son. Heck of a mom there. It also looks like I’m out of the dark with that whole breathing situation. Apparently all I needed to do was just stretch my lungs out a little. With nothing else to do, me and my roommate decide to watch a movie. I let him choose the movie. Hopefully it’s not a stupid little kids movie oh wait what, he picked the Digimon movie no way. Best roommate ever. We get through the awesomeness of Tai and Matt saving the world, and soon enough the TV is turned off and the blankets are brought up to our chins.

I wake up in the middle of the night. Perfectly quiet except for the faint hum of the occasional car passing by outside. I’ve got to use the bathroom. Oh boy, this is going to be an adventure. My doctors have given me permission to walk around, but I haven’t done so since my surgery. Thankfully there is a bathroom in my room. Not thankfully, the bathroom is across the room on my roommates side. Well, here we go. I swing my legs out my bed and my feet meet the cold floor. I grab my IV tubing and wheel it along with me. I work my way across the room as silently as possible in order not to wake up my roommate or his mother, but it’s kind of hard to be ninja mode with this IV tubing squeaking along next to me. Right as I’m passing by the mom on the couch, I remember that my hospital gown isn’t closed up in the back. They gave me one without the strings that tie the back together. And it’s not like I can hold it together with my hands. My left arm has got the IV tube in it, and my right arm can’t stretch backwards because of this fresh cut on my side. So here I am, ass out in the middle of the night in front of this poor kids mother. Whatever, it’s either this or peeing myself. I assume she’s sound asleep as I finally make it to the bathroom and do my business. Step by step I make it back to my bed, 100% sure that this random mom got a full on view of Sean ass. I delicately put myself back under the covers and let sleep take control yet again.

My ears open before my eyes. Why’s there so much noise going on? I peek over at the other side of the room just in time to see some EMT’s lifting my roommate up from his bed to a gurney. Guess he’s going somewhere. His mom notices I’m awake and tells me that he’s getting transferred to another hospital. Good luck kid, good luck. I wave to him one last time as he gets pushed out the door. My parents walk in not long after. We hang out for a bit. Small talk with the parents. Always a good time. My doctor comes in as well and says that he think it’ll be good if I get some exercise. Get the juices flowing inside of me. He says that I should take a lap around the hospital floor. He’s gonna have his interns come in and look after me as I do it. Also, depending on how my little trip around the hospital goes, they might release me that same day. Alright, let’s not screw this up.

My interns are fresh faced and way too happy for their own good. 2 guys, 2 girls, and 4 clipboards. Coats white as my operating room. Shoulder to shoulder they stand, backs straight as a ruler. They have more questions than mouths. I can barely keep up with all of them talking to me at once. They’re excited for a reason. They got to watch my surgery. Looks like I had an audience after all. They also want to see me make a lap around the hospital floor. I can make that happen. First things first though. This entire time talking to them, I’ve still been ass out. Just back end flowing in the breeze. In between all their questions, I finally convince one of them to bring me another hospital gown. They end up just slapping this one right on my back so I’ve got some superhero cape action going on now. No more bare backing for me. The interns decide not to take a walk with me. A couple of glances at their clipboards means other patients to see. They send my dad along for the ride. Just make sure he makes it back. As if I’m going to make a break for it. This walk is going good enough. One step in front of the other. I’ve been doing this my entire life. My stomach is starting to feel a little strange though. Kind of feels like that first day I was sick. I can feel something starting to come up. Where’s a trash can when I need it? Thankfully there’s one right around the next corner and here I am again, head deep in a trash can. In the hospital kitchen. Right next to their microwave. Sorry guys, hope there isn’t any splatter. Welp, looks like this little trip hasn’t gone quite exactly to plan. My dad does nothing but rub my back. Not much else he can do to be honest. All this bright yellow liquid finally stops pouring out my body and now it’s time to make it back to my room. More steps, but these go by even smoother than before. Throwing up has made me a little more motivated to get back to my room. One last step into my room and I’m greeted by 4 wide eyed smiles. Interns lying in wait. How was it? Are you tired? Any problems at all? My dad speaks before I can even think. Nope, no problems at all, right son? Yeah dad, nothing wrong at all. Oh great, you’re a strong boy. Looks like you’re heading in the right direction to be discharged. Thanks for the bro save there dad. That’ll be the closest you ever get to bailing me out of jail.

Lets go home. Words I’ve been wanting to hear since I first set foot in the hospital. First thing I want to do is take a shower. Haven’t done that in a few days. I’ve got all sorts of hospital funk attached to me. I can smell myself and it’s not good. Before I can hop in the shower, my mom tapes a plastic bag to my side. Can’t let my bandage get wet. Looks like I’m gonna have to get used to showering with a trash bag for the next few days. Home life goes on as normal. The only things I can’t do are obviously any heavy lifting or strenuous activity. I even find myself going back to school to close out the year. Never did finish that video though.

The bandage eventually comes off and leaves behind just a few pieces of medical tape. Those too fall off with time and a few warm showers. All that’s left is a straight scar, about 2 inches in length. I never did find out what happened to my appendix. I wonder what kinda life it lived once it left my body. Who knows, maybe it’s sitting in a glass jar on one of those interns desks right about now. That scar is still as prominent as ever, serving as a reminder to be thankful for modern medicine, observant EMT’s, and Digimon.

Awkward Concert Stories – Teenage Girls

If you know one thing about me, it’s that I love going to concerts. Live music is my thing. Like, one of my greatest fears in life is getting to be so old that I can’t stand up for hours and hours on end so I can’t be front row for my favorite bands. That being said, I’ve got plenty of stories from these concerts, ranging from the insanely awesome like slapping hands with Mike Shinoda from Linkin Park, to the terrible, like getting kicking in the head by a crowd surfer at Warped Tour. So this series will just be me spouting off the various tales that I’ve accumulated through my years of being in tiny spaces packed with loud noises and wild people. This story is titled “How Not to Act at a Concert”

I’m going to start with a pretty recent experience. I’ve got this one filed in the folder of “most annoying crowds”. I’ve been going to loads of concerts by myself out here in Colorado, seeing as how I haven’t made all that many friends here yet. Definitely not letting that get in the way of my music though. That being said, being alone at concerts have increased my people watching skills tenfold. Normally I’d have someone with me to help kill time with in between sets, but when I’m alone I’m not afforded that luxury. This means that I am in full awareness of everything that is happening around me.

So that sets the stage for this show. The venue is the Ogden Theater in Denver. The bands are Lights and The Mowgli’s. Lights I’ve seen before a few times, and she’s honestly a great act to see. Great voice and shes always been full of energy on stage, and her fanbase is pretty rabid so it’s usually pretty hype. The Mowgli’s are a fun indie band that’s actually gotten some radio play with hits like San Francisco and I’m Good. Most of the crowd was there to see Lights though, and this story begins with the group of teenage Lights fans that happened to be standing right next to me the entire time.

Honestly, I don’t know their ages, but they genuinely looked like the “big brother just bought me alcohol” type. It started off with just the usual high pitched screams for no apparent reason that I’ve sadly grown accustomed to at these types of events. Then the alcohol started to really kick in, as in kicking their balance away. Unfortunately, the biggest one in the group was the one next to me, so she kept tumbling sideways into my shoulder. Then the elbows started getting tossed my way and my poor arm took the blunt of those blows. My upper body wasn’t the only part of me in harms way, as my poor left foot got stomped on multiple times by chubby white girl sneakers. Awesome start to the concert there.

It didn’t just end at physical abuse though. The Mowgli’s were the openers that night, and that didn’t sit well with the Lights fans next to me. Apparently they’ve never been to a concert before and didn’t grasp the concept that bands have to take turns going on stage, and that there’s such a thing as an opener. Like, you have to wait for the main act to get on stage. You don’t just immediately get what you want at the snap of your fingers. First they started with their bitching an moaning about why Lights wasn’t on stage yet. “WHERE IS LIGHTS I NEED HER IN MY LIFE WHY IS SHE NOT HERE WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE OMG” when obviously The Mowgli’s were listed on the bill and hell they’ve even had a few really popular songs on the radio. Second, they started taking shots at The Mowgli’s. “THESE GUYS SUCK WHO ARE THEY EVEN WHY ARE THEY ON STAGE RIGHT NOW OMG WHERE IS LIGHTS” like shut the hell up and actually listen to the music, you might like it if you weren’t spouting off such inane bullshit and drowning out the music with your squeals. At this point, they were even getting death glares from other folks around me. How could you be so inconsiderate as to ruin another persons concert going experience just because you’re unhappy that the main act isn’t on stage yet?

The final straw for me and apparently some of the others around me was when the group decided they themselves have had enough of The Mowgli’s, and decided that they were going to sing another bands song right there in the middle of their set. Now this is the point where you can fully understand how annoying this group was. Picture this: a group of teenage girls terribly screeching the lyrics to New Americana by Halsey, while at a happy pop/indie concert where they are loud enough to be heard by all. Just the freakin irony of it all, a group of privileged girls screaming lyrics to a song about diversity and rebellion, when they’re just carbon copies of each other with most of their “activism” done behind a keyboard with reblogs and notes. Get the fuck out of here with that shit. Thankfully, at this point someone around them told them to shut up. Of course they took major offense to this, and tried making a huge scene about it all. When they realized that public opinion was not in their favor, they kept quiet for the rest of The Mowgli’s set.

The kicker is that when The Mowgli’s were done and they were switching sets, the group of girls disappeared. Who knows if they got chased off or if their vibe was killed, but by the time Lights hit the stage, they were gone. They had second row for an act they were apparently dying to see all night long, and when finally presented with the chance to meet that goal, they bailed. That’s maybe the most baffling thing about that night to me; how you could sit there and complain all night long, but leave when you finally have the chance to get what you want.

Such a terrible concert experience, but thankfully the music made up for the crowd. The people around you at a concert can make or break it sometimes, and that night, the crowd nearly broke me and my sanity.

My Life is Anime

I’ve had to pleasure to finally have time to watch anime for the first time in years. Seeing as I have a 40 minute bus ride to work, along with an hour wait before work starts, I obviously have plenty of time to watch to hearts desire. So here’s a few of my thoughts about the shows I’ve watched the past few weeks. And yes, there are spoilers ahead.

Sword Art Online
The first anime I’ve watched fully in lord knows how many years. Watched it only because my coworker suggested it to me and told me that it was pretty badass. I believe that we were talking about video games, and he went on to say that he hopes to live long enough to where video games get to where they are in SAO. With such high praise, I had pretty high expectations going into this show. And it definitely started off that way. The first few episodes had me hooked. Kirito is one of my favorite protagonists of any anime, mostly because of the fact that he isn’t a bitch. One way for me to stop watching an anime is when the main character is either dorky or nerdy or a wuss, which makes it easy to predict that their character arc is going to be them “overcoming their fears” and magically “growing stronger in times of great peril”. Kirito offers none of that, because from the very beginning he is basically the strongest and he knows it. This anime sports some of the most badass moments from any anime I’ve watched, and they’re all due to Kirito just wrecking shit. The battle with him versus the Gleam Eyes still gives me goosebumps and make me tear up due to the pure awesomeness of that scene. And when he brought down Rosalia and her orange clan, just straight cool with how he handles that situation. The entire first part of SAO up to Kirito waking up in the real world is amazing and definitely worth the watch.

The show goes a little bit downhill once it starts the Alfheim arc. There were a lot of stuff that I just didn’t care about nor was I given any chance to care about it. Like the flying and the wings and the elf ears? Why do I need all this in my anime? I get it, I really do. Because I’ve played MMO’s before and I get that they’ve got to include all this other stuff as a shout out to the Fantasy genre of MMO’s. But I just didn’t care because they pretty much took Kirito’s badass character from SAO and nerfed him into some little elf fairy. Like, you had this good thing going and you just decide to ruin it just for a change in scenery. Also, why do you need to include a whole story arc that’s pretty much a brother/sister incest story. There is no point at all to including it. You could have just had the reveal to be like “Oh hey we know each other in real life that’s a funny coincidence, lets not forget that my girlfriend being held captive is the main priority here” but no, we’ve gotta go into this whole emo sister phase and Kirito has to deal with that distraction instead of being able to focus solely on getting Asuna back. So annoying.

The Gun Gale arc didn’t bother me as much as it did other people. I thought the lightsaber sword was pretty cool to be honest. Really, the only thing I didn’t like about the arc was that the antagonist ended up being a complete random. I wish it had ended up being someone we knew from one of the previous story arcs, but no. Instead we just get a quick little random flashback about a battle that we never see, and we end up getting our antagonist from there. Genuinely did not care about the end of the Gun Gale arc, because I did not care about the identity or the motivations of Death Gun. Like, why couldn’t you make the character a Laughing Coffin member that we’ve seen before? It made the entire thing just feel like filler.

In all though, it was a pretty solid watch. It has its drawbacks, but I would definitely recommend it as an anime. It was one of those shows that I just had to complete, thought it did get kind of hard to watch at the end. Lots of wasted potential though sadly. Solid 7/10 show for me.

Attack on Titan
Wow where do I even begin with this one. What a freakin show. I get it now. I completely understand why this show took off in popularity. I understand all the cosplays, I understand seeing everyone wearing the emblems, and I understand the hype goddammit I understand now.

This anime is desperation incarnate. The whole show just leaves you feeling hopeless, about as hopeless as Armin staring into the face of a titan. The situation they’re in just increases in levels of “oh god we’re fucked” and halfway through the series you’re just left wondering if there’s any hope at all to be had in the show. At first, I didn’t get it. It didn’t follow with how I wanted the anime to go. As an experienced anime watcher, you go into certain animes just having assumptions on what you think is going to happen. I thought that after they graduated from being cadets that Eren and Mikasa and their gang learn how to be super badass with their gears and just wreck titan shit. But no, after they graduate, they’re left even more hopeless than before (with the exception of Mikasa because she is the badass of this anime). Then the twist happens and you finally get to see that little candle flicker with that first ember of hope.

Holy shit, Eren’s a titan? That is basically the opposite of where I thought the anime was going to head. And he has control over his abilities too? Oh here we go, finally humanity has a chance. I like all the political drama that happens as well. Eren’s trail is so intense. It’s like you could have dropped a pin in that courtroom. The church that believes that they walls are gods are annoying, but I can easily see the church having way too much political sway if something like this were to happen in real life. Even the corruption and the distinct class differences hit home pretty hard.

I genuinely cannot wait for season 2. There are way too many questions left unanswered. Like what the hell is in that basement?!?!? It’s tearing away at my soul not knowing what’s in there. I am in such a state of anticipation for season 2. The hype is real with this one. First season is a solid 9/10 for me, and it’s only not perfect because it’s just season 1.

Soul Eater
Oh hey look I watched an old school anime. I remember watching bits and pieces of this series back in Anime Club in college, so my mind has always been an incomplete puzzle when it came to this show. So when I found it in its entirety on Netflix, I was ecstatic. Yay, I can finally complete this series after so many years.

I’m still debating in my head whether or not I enjoyed the characters in this show or if I hated them. I think I love the powers and abilities of the characters, but I hate their personalities. It’s as if they made them as annoying as possible, but super strong and badass. I couldn’t stand it when either Black Star or Death the Kid opened their mouths and spoke. I was in a constant state of wanting to tell them to shut the fuck up and just get on with it. I didn’t care for Black Star just constantly screaming or for Death the Kid to turn into such a bitch about symmetry. I think they meant to give the characters some sort of comedy relief, but oh god they just pushed the annoying level to the extreme with these guys. Soul Eater also includes the most annoying character in the history of anime with Excalibur. I actually skipped the episodes he was part of. Why annoy your viewers so?

Other than that, I loved the show. Art style and character design was fun to look at. The storyline other than the ending was amazing. Action scenes were damn cool. Watching the main characters up their skills and get stronger was a pleasure. I just can’t get past the ending because I still don’t fully understand what happened. I don’t get how Maya defeated the Kishin. Did she just prove to be too brave for the Kishins madness? I don’t get it at all. The show feels imcomplete to me because the ending wasn’t fulfilling at all. I think it suffers from trying to be too smart for it’s own good with how they choose to end it, when they really should have just gone the normal route and had Maya do something like unlock more of her mothers abilities and overwhelm the Kishin. That would have completely fit with the rest of the story of Soul Eater, but they decided to go another route and I was just left feeling incomplete at the end of it. 6/10 for me because of the ending. It is worth watching if you like seeing some badass fight scenes. Black Star vs Mifune is amazing.

Gurren Lagann
Do I have a new favorite anime? Pretty damn close. Gurren Lagann was magnificent. Like damn, it really doesn’t get much better than this. If not for it being just average after the time skip, then this definitely would be my favorite anime.

The characters are fantastic. We all know Kamina is too cool and is only the kind of guy we can dream to me. Yoko is the #1 hottest anime girl. Simon is the classic underdog that actually becomes strong and looses his bitch tendencies pretty early on. Leeron is the perfect comedic relief and he’s actually not completely useless. Heck, even Boota has his uses.

The story is amazing as well. I love that they waste no time and there’s no useless filler when it comes to the story. It makes every episode and every second important. No need to draw out the series into some ridiculously long story. They just give it to me straight up without all the bullshit. And lets get this out the way immediately. Kamina dying is the best thing that could have happened to this show. You might have hated seeing him die, because I sure as hell did. But the show needed it. It made you think that nobody was safe in the show. Like how could they kill the most beloved person in the show could they kill everyone else now? It made you feel like every fight could end up with you losing someone else. But Kamina needed to die, because Simon is the drill that would pierce the heavens, not Kamina. And Simon needed Kamina to die so he could grow into that person that would eventually save humanity.

The show does falter a little bit when the time skip happens. It’s always fun to see time skips in shows because your favorite characters come back bigger and stronger and essentially cooler. And at first, it’s decent because of that effect. But then the storyline gets convoluted and complicated. It went from an easy storyline to follow of just kill the evil king. Then the time skip happens and we get all this drama about the Spirals and Anti Spirals and all this stuff just doesn’t make sense. I feel that the show got way too big for itself, like literally. They were fighting with actual galaxies by the end of it. There’s kind of an unofficial rule that you can only get so strong you know. But Gurren Lagann kind of seems to throw that rule out the window and they just keep upgrading their robot to the point where it just gets way too ridiculous for it’s own good. Like, everything was believable to an extent before the time skip, but then everything just gets tossed out the window and you just don’t believe what you’re watching anymore. For example, the freakin hamster Boota that has been following them around without any use at all ends up being this massive source of Spiral energy and assumes a human like form and is able to attack the Anti Spiral. That whole scene made zero sense to me and just left me dazed and confused.

This show is still a solid 9/10 for me, and it could have been the greatest ever if only it had kept it up through the time skip. But meh, one can only dream right.

The Irregular at Magic High School
What the heck was going on in this show? What the hell did I just watch. I genuinely did not understand the storyline at all. I get that magic has been militarized, but who is battling who and why is all of this happening and who are these people. Like this series is only around 25ish episodes long, yet it seems like there’s about a hundred characters, half of them being absolutely pointless.

Okay so remember me complaining about how Sword Art Online had some slightly incest stuff between the brother and sister? Well Magic High School took that to the extreme. Like what the hell? There were scenes with the brother and sister cuddling and nearly kissing and who in their right mind would actually have enjoyment from seeing things like that in a show? I don’t get why a super close brother and sister relationship seems to be a theme of anime these days but I’m sure not a fan of it. Especially when the anime is a harem anime disguised as an action anime. Harem you say? Yeah Tatsuya has like 10 of his classmates after him at any given time. He also has zero personality at all which is kind of his personality in the first place, but he’s still a pretty boring main character. It’s to that point where he’s almost too strong for his own good, and nothing touches him at all. They gave him the most OP ability ever which is to reload a previous version of himself to heal any wounds. So he literally can’t die. Then they casually toss in the clause that whenever he uses that ability, he feels the pain times 150 but that doesn’t seem to effect Tatsuya at all as he uses the ability repeatedly over and over again with no consequences.

The storyline is a muddy mess as well. You sit there watching the show without knowing who certain people are and why they are fighting each other. It starts off simple enough with just basic high school life, and if they had kept it simple, it would have worked as an anime. But no, they had to expand it to military and they had to make Tatsuya some sort of secret government officer and they had to have all these factions fighting each other over magic artifacts whose uses are never explained simply. It’s just a complete mess. Everything is a complete mess when it comes to storyline and things being explained. They make several vague attempts at explaining how the magic works, but you kind of just zone it out after the first few confusing sentences and give up trying to understand after awhile. Trying to learn their magic feels like learning a foreign language to me.

That being said, the fight scenes are pretty cool though, and the entire concept is neat as well. Though Tatsuya is overpowered, it’s actually kind of fun seeing him completely dismantle everything that stands in his way without even breaking a sweat. It’s like he always has yet another joker up his sleeve. And I love how none of his classmates even question it too. It’s like, “oh hey I just got sent this brand new prototype equipment that just got released last month and is probably uber expensive and now lets use it for this high school contest” because that makes so much sense.

Such a weird show but I stuck through it and finished it up. It’s nice if you like mindless action sequences, but other than that it’s kind of a pass. 4/10 for me!

And that’s all the animes I’ve watched in the past few weeks. If you stuck it out with me and read nearly this entire thing, then congrats for being as much of a nerd as I am.

NBA2K16 is a terrible game, but I can’t stop playing it

I hate this game. I hate this game so much. I haven’t gotten this mad at a video game since playing SSBM and failing the 15 minute marathon match with 10 seconds to go. NBA2K16 has so many flaws, but for some reason I can’t put it down. I don’t know if that’s a sign of a good game or if I’m just stupid for keeping it up, but at this point, I’m a little too deep in it to back out now.

So lets break my hate down a little bit here. The biggest flaw of this game is the fluff. There is literally so much shit going on other than the gameplay itself that you feel like you’re just sitting there spending more time waiting through the fluff than actually playing any basketball itself. Lets put this into perspective. You go to start a game, and you have to sit and button mash your way through their “pregame show” with Ernie/Kenny/Shaq that always takes way too long to skip through. Then again, this plays while the game loads so that’s some slightly excusable fluff there. Afterwards, you gotta button mash through the starting lineups, and wait for the ref to toss the ball up which takes forever. Then you’re finally in the game and it actually seems like a basketball game. Then, someone gets fouled and you have to sit through their free throws which takes absolutely forever. Or, one of the coaches will call a timeout and you just sit there yet again waiting until you can skip through it. Then, they like to toss in random player interviews that you again end up button mash skipping your way through because who cares, I’m playing a video game I don’t want to hear about how much Tony Parker admires Tim Duncan. You finally get through the game and finish it, and then you have to sit through the mandatory post game show and find out who the star of the game is. At the end of it all, you end up spending more time sitting around waiting for all the mini cut scenes to finish up rather than playing the actual game itself.

As for the gameplay itself, it’s not much better. I absolutely hate playing defense. Like, I’ll admit, I suck at playing defense, but the mechanics of the game don’t help at all. First off, the person you’re supposed to be guarding changes so quickly that at times you’re just immediately lost on the court because you’ve got 2 arrows pointing in different directions. Then if you don’t get back to the player you’re supposed to be guarding in time you’ll get hit with a negative grade because you left your assignment. Or they’ll be wide open and you’ll get downgraded for a defensive breakdown once they hit their wide open shot. And speaking of those defensive breakdowns, they come without warning. I’ve played amazing defense and gotten my opponent to do something like miss a layup, then it’ll be pure chaos grabbing the rebound. They’ll get an offensive rebound and immediately put it back up for a score, and I’ll end up with a defensive breakdown because of that. Like what the hell, at least give me a chance to defend instead of handicapping me with your shitty gameplay.

If the story mode was actually good, it might save this game a little bit, but oh my god the entire story arc was the most boring thing I’v ever seen in my life. I had certain expectations for it, especially since it was directed by Spike Lee. Instead, I just a bunch of characters I absolutely didn’t care about making decisions that I didn’t care about either. It also probably didn’t help that even though my character is about as light skinned and white as possible, he’s stuck with this heavy ghetto speak mannerism. It got to a point where I genuinely skipped through every cut scene because the characters annoyed me so much. I couldn’t even get behind my own character for heavens sake and it’s supposed to be me. Like, if I can’t like myself then why would I like the story mode to the game? Freqin terrible. To this day, I still don’t know the story to the game. Like, I was so glad my first season ended and I was able to get directly to just playing games without having to worry about a shitty cut scene that I’m gonna have to spend a couple seconds skipping.

The game does have a few redeeming qualities though. The gameplay itself, while sporadically there, is actually really fun. I fucking love being able to set a hard screen and pop off it for an open three shot and knocking it home. Or actually running a play successfully and ending up with a wide open lane to the hoop and yamming it home. I was also very pleasantly surprised by the amount of teams in the game from the Euroleague and the classic teams. The Run TMC Warriors are there, Iverson’s Sixers, the original Big Three Celtics, etc etc. Like it’s nice seeing these throwback teams actually there and being able to choose them if you want.

In all, it’s an extremely flawed game that leaves me basically yelling at my computer to HURRY THE FUCK UP. I guess I’m just used to the NBA games of the past. This is my first basketball game pick up since one of the NBA Live’s on N64. I knew there’d be a little fluff, but I just wasn’t expecting having to basically sit through it taking about as long as an actual basketball game. Anyways, I’ll probably keep playing this game, but it’s just a 6/10 for me.

Why you do this?

Awhile back I started a blog about my adventures here in Denver. Little did I know that I wouldn’t be having many adventures at all. In fact, the funnest things I’ve done in the past few weeks have been playing games on my computer and just having fun complications at work. So that blog hasn’t gotten much traffic from me in awhile. And at this point I’m not really too hard pressed to dust the cobwebs off of it.

So this is my new blog and it’s going to just be me and my thoughts and my stories and my opinions. There’s been plenty of things I’ve wanted to talk about, but haven’t had to chance to on my other blog because they don’t fit the whole “Sean’s living in Denver now” theme. So here you’re going to get everything. Music/movie/TV reviews, rants about stuff that makes no sense to me, stories from my past and present. Just a mix of everything you can imagine. So don’t be surprised to see anything and everything show up here.