Sunday Stats

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*Since my family first got an NES, I’ve had a controller in my hands. Exploring new worlds, meeting new characters and experiencing stories… in some ways, I’ve just connected better with the world through games. However, it’s also very important to me to be present in my life, to improve myself, to go out and MEET the people I’ve connected with online and to expand my knowledge. I spend hours in games; how do I level myself up?

In this weekly series, I’ll chronicle how I’ve improved my “stats” with completely arbitrary scoring.*

+1 Intelligence – How did I make myself a little smarter? What did I learn?
I learned a new city! I don’t know if there’s a city in the country more sprawling and intimidating than LA. Thanks to Glux, we figured our way around and learned A LOT about where to stay and what to do if we ever come back.

Santa Monica Sidequest

-3 Charisma – How was I less awkward or more beautiful?
Fail. I got major sunburn on my face and arms just from walking around LA. I picked up some SPF 100 on Day 3, but it was too late.

Burning for Blue

-2 Strength – New workouts, breakthroughs, challenges.
I never work out on vacation. Packing extra shoes and a couple sets of workout clothes just seems ridiculous. I should really change this mentality though and keep up my momentum when I’m away.

+1 Defense – Where did I consciously avoid or deflect negative energy?
E3 was a major test of patience. Lines everywhere. Smelly gamer boys pushing and shoving through the crowds. Long days on my feet. But I rolled with it, stayed calm and had a great time.

Maybe this Deathclaw would have more luck with lines

+3 Luck – Something good that happened this week.
SO many good things happened! I got to play the new Smash Bros. Ultimate at E3. Dinosaur encounters peppered my week. My carney connections got me access to Universal Studios Hollywood with Express Pass so I could skip the 2 hour lines! We went early on Friday before the park got crowded and I finally got my Ravenclaw robes and a wand of Ivy, perfect for my magical outings!

Amazing real life Blue

-1 Wealth – How did I save towards my goals?
I spent about what I thought I would on this trip. I’m not worried about money right now, but focus needs to shift back toward paying off my debts. This trip allowed me to hit the spend threshold on my Chase Sapphire Reserve card so I get 50k bonus points. That will pay for my next trip!

How did YOU level up this week?

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5 Skeeball Tips from a (Practical) Pro

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Artwork by Glen Brogan

My parents propped me up in front of a skeeball machine at Mariner’s Arcade on the Wildwood Boardwalk as soon as I could stand. I racked up tickets quickly, savings hundreds of thousands over the years. The prize, for me, was in the game itself. Every summer I’d play. Alone. Sometimes dragging friends. Eventually taking dates. Always bringing my GAME.

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When I moved back to NYC, I wanted a way to meet new people and get out of my apartment, especially during my hibernation winter months. Because this city has EVERYTHING, I looked up skeeball right away and found a league through NY Social.

As captain, I’ve guided 4 teams to city finals. Made it to the final four twice. AND received 5 invitations to the Skeeball National Championship. That’s how I roll (also I’m the self-proclaimed mistress of skeeball puns. You’ve been warned)!

Guess who the #skeeball champions are? #carneylife #nyc #pinup #baller

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I just revived my Summer League, The Skeevil Dead and can’t wait to coach the new recruits! If you’re interested in getting involved in this incredible Ocho worthy sport, here are some basic practices to help you git gud.

1) You’d never think it, but skeeball is 80% lower body. Your stance is the most important part of your game. Everyone’s stance is unique so figure out where your feet need to be in order for you to be most comfortable and get the velocity you want. For my stance, I need my left foot firmly planted and lined up with the inner edge of the left bumper. My right leg crosses behind my left and my right foot is up on the tip of the toes, so I’m balancing a bit with my core and also pushing myself forward a bit.

This “personal best” is now my average!

Personal best. #NYC #skeeball #latergram

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2) Keep your wrist straight and roll with your whole arm, just like a bowling ball. I know this ball is much smaller and the lane is much shorter, but the technique is basically the same. Don’t twist or flick your wrist.

3) On every machine I’ve encountered, there is a shadow line that runs across the lane just before the point where the lane makes its sharp slope upwards. If you bank the ball off the point where that shadow meets the bumper, you’ll hit the 40 consistently. This is a good way to get a feel for the game.

4) It’s a drinking game anymore, but don’t go overboard. Find your buzzy sweet spot and it could improve your game! Balance is key.

5) Don’t go for 100 unless you have to. They’re super hard to hit and you could waste four balls worth 50 points trying to get that hundo. Hundos are for desperate situations and happy accidents.

Have you ever played Skeeball?

Sunday Stats

Sunday Stats

*Since my family first got an NES, I’ve had a controller in my hands. Exploring new worlds, meeting new characters and experiencing stories… in some ways, I’ve just connected better with the world through games. However, it’s also very important to me to be present in my life, to improve myself, to go out and MEET the people I’ve connected with online and to expand my knowledge. I spend hours in games; how do I level myself up?

In this weekly series, I’ll chronicle how I’ve improved my “stats” with completely arbitrary scoring.*

+1 Intelligence – How did I make myself a little smarter? What did I learn?
Did you know that IBM developed the UPC bar code? This display at HQ drew me in because I can’t look at a can of Campbell’s tomato soup and not think of Andy Warhol. An IBMer invented the first UPC code, which looked like a bullseye and then evolved it into the bar code we’re used to. Bar codes are vertical bars so that in case of extra ink, the bar code gets taller, but is still readable. In 1974, a pack of Wrigley’s gum became the first item to be scanned with a UPC bar code, which became the standard method for inventory tracking. It’s awesome to know I work for a company that has revolutionized the retail industry, and so many others- and will continue to revolutionize the world.

Campbell's Tomato Soup Cans with IBM UPC Bar Codes

+1 Charisma – How was I less awkward or more beautiful?
I found a new way to embrace my awkwardness! When I used to get picked on in school and called “weird,” I’d respond with “at least I’m not boring.” I’ve evolved that mantra for my adult awkwardness. Whenever I do something embarrassing or say something nonsensical, I shrug and say, “it’s all part of my charm.”

-2 Strength – New workouts, breakthroughs, challenges.
I was sick the first half of the week and then threw my back out Tuesday night. So healing has taken precedence. I noticed a pattern in my gym behaviour where if I skip on Monday, I go to spin class on Tuesday and maybe Friday, but I don’t make it any other weekday mornings. I’m rectifying this next week by forcing myself to go on Monday morning. I have GOT to get myself into a steady routine.

+3 Defense – Where did I consciously avoid or deflect negative energy?
I’ve been working on a big project for work this week that will be shared with very important people. I got some feedback that I wasn’t putting enough of my own originality into my work and seemed to just be dictating the words of my managers. Because that’s exactly what I was doing. Because, I realized, in my previous role, if I didn’t do the work EXACTLY like the manager wanted, it would be my ass. I’d have to do entire projects and decks over and over again, working late and weekends, just hoping to get it “right.” I recognized this in the moment and told my current managers that Yes! I realize that’s what I’m doing and that I know I need to work on it. AND that I appreciate them calling it out because now I feel liberated to be the smart, creative, talented strategist I am.

+1 Luck – Something good that happened this week
I renewed my Beer Freak membership at Coney Island Brewery and the wonderful staff there let me keep my 2017 stamps! I signed up late last year, but I really want to earn the exclusive growler. Now I’m only 8 stamps away and already have a February event on the calendar!

+1 Wealth – How did I save towards my goals?
This week was exceptionally hard. I was initially panicking that my spending was out of control because I did buy some books, tickets to a couple shows and events, subscription boxes, a gift for Ryan since his Eagles won the NFC Championship for the first time in 13 years, and preordered two of every dinosaur from the upcoming Funko Jurassic Park line. Ok that does sound a little out of control…
BUT! Because of my company’s pay schedule, I haven’t been paid since the 12th. So I’ve been trying to stretch this check over almost 3 weeks instead of 2. Still, my bad habits lately haven’t been helping.

I’m still on track with my savings. AND to help create better spending habits, I’m creating No Spend February (#nospendfeb). The challenge is to (obviously) not spend ANY money, except on essentials (again, obviously- I can’t just NOT pay my rent and bills…). So next week, I’ll have an update on that. I will probably be in tears because this is going to be really fucking hard.

The Old Kind of Tattoos

A few years ago while I was working on a research project at the amusement park I worked for, I stumbled upon this photo called “The Old Kind Of Tattoos” a stranger posted on some crazy niche industry forums about Wildwood in its glory days.

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We lost my Uncle Buddy this week. He was 91. The last of his group. The last of the Greatest Generation in my family.

He used to hand-paint old-fashioned temporary tattoo transfers and sell them at a rickety little stand on the boardwalk. The first time he ever applied one on me, I was so afraid it was going to hurt (and he may have played up that fear just a little- he was silly like that). I remember the stickiness of the tattoo on my arm, the cool, wet sponge and then incredibly, the art was on my skin and the paper was perfectly clean, if not a little slimy. It was SO COOL. I spent hours playing in his tattoo storage closet, swimming waist deep in Ninja Turtles, Mickey Mouses, dragons, Bart Simpson heads, snakes coiled around daggers and MOM hearts. I examined them all and stood on my toes next to his work station to watch him paint. Each one was slightly different. Not a single one was perfect, a product of the slightest tremor or shift in focus.

I have two family photos always displayed. One is my grandparents sitting on the beach. The other is my grandfather and Uncle Buddy manning a machine gun.

My grandparents met shortly before my grandfather enlisted in the Marines at a round robin dance. The ladies formed a circle in the middle and the men formed an outer circle and whoever you ended up in front of was your dance partner for that song. My grandfather landed in front of Mimi. After their first dance, he was afraid he wouldn’t be able to dance as well with anyone else. Each round, he shuffled around the circle so he’d always land in front of her. They married shortly before he deployed for the South Pacific.

While on deployment, Grampi was stationed with Uncle Buddy and he went on and on about his wonderful wife and the letters they constantly exchanged. Uncle Buddy decided he wanted a lovely lady to write letters to and asked Grampi if Mimi had any friends. He began writing his letters to Mimi’s sister, Aunt Redda. And they got married when he returned from war.

That’s what the Greatest Generation did. They went to war and they came home and reveled in their families and hard work. They were extraordinary men and women who lived simply, happily, beautifully. They took pride in their work and found joy in watching a little girl flex her sad little bicep and feel like a badass for the first time in her life because she had a droopy Ninja Turtle inked on her arm.

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RIP Uncle Buddy. I’m glad you’re all together again.