Returning To My Old Haunt In Animal Crossing: New Horizons

I have begun a slow return to playing Animal Crossing: New Horizons. I played it pretty heavily for most of 2020, kinda hit a wall of boredom in 2021, and have only played intermittently since then. The exact moment I knew I needed a break from the game was when I realized I wasn’t going to keep up my dailies because it meant I’d have to get up and change the cartridges in my Switch. That, plus my dislike for anything that makes me feel like I am obligated to play a game every day or else play at a disadvantage. I know it’s not a big deal to miss a day here or there in ACNH, which is why it lasted as long as it did, but eventually I felt tired of playing the game just to dig up a few fossils, pick some weeds, water some flowers, and talk to my island neighbors at least once.

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Revelation

Roger wasn’t much for animals. They didn’t like him and he didn’t like them. Every dog he’d ever tried to pet had either run or bit him. Cats clawed him and even birds pecked him.

Which is how he knew something was wrong when he woke up with a mouse sitting on his nightstand.

“Go away” he said. It didn’t move.

“Scram.” Roger sat up and waved at it. It washed its whiskers.

Roger eyed the clock and then looked out the window. It was past eight but still dark out. Odd. Roger watched the mouse carefully as he stayed outside arm’s reach of the mouse while getting up.

He grabbed his things and headed to the shower without taking his eyes off the creature until he left his bedroom. Stayed facing him the entire time.

When he came back, it was still there. He combed his hair in silence, still watching the mouse that moved only to rub its whiskers.

When he couldn’t take it any longer, Roger stepped forward, grabbing a book off his shelf. “Get out of here now or I’m going to smash you!”

The mouse paused for a moment, and then resumed rubbing its little face.

Roger moved to the bed, put the book down, and picked up a pen. When he poked the mouse, it squeaked and then continued washing its whiskers.

Roger bent over to look at it and whispered half to himself. “What the hell are you doing, little guy?”

“Distracting you” said a small voice behind him. By the time he started to spin around, the horde of mice was crashing over him.

The last thing he heard as darkness swallowed him was a small voice saying “At last, the prophesied hero has fallen. Soon, so will all the other Humans.”

Retreading Familiar Ground in Animal Crossing: New Horizons

The first and only Animal Crossing game I’ve ever played longer than a day (I borrowed one in college but didn’t have the time to do more than make a character) was the original one on the GameCube. That isn’t a result of a lack of willingness on my part so much as a result of my disconnect from buying new games during college (I think the only new game I got while I was in college was Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword) and my lack of free time as a post-college adult. I’ve always had something come up that make a time-intensive and daily play game like Animal Crossing prohibitive.

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NaNoWriMo Day 14 (11/14)

Well, I wound up only spending 2.5 to 3 hours writing last night instead of the 5+ I had planned, but I got over 2000 words written, so I’ve finally started to make up for lost time. If I turn my 1666 daily words into about 2400 daily words, I will still finish in time. Heck, if I count the words I’ve written for this blog, I’ll only be short by 2044 at the end of this post. I’ll be using the day 13 total since I usually write these posts around midnight and schedule them to post in the morning so I’ve got the chance to review them before they go up. This is relevant because I count any time before going to bed as still the previous day for the purposes of calculating numbers and statistics.

I finally feel like I’m at least sort of back on track now. I’ve righted the course by spending my evening trying to write (even if I missed the mark for the majority of the time I had set aside). That being said, I almost fell asleep while writing because my caffeine wore out around 11pm and my ibuprofen (I’ve developed some really awful neck tension and pain) wore off at about 11:30pm, so the last bit was a real struggle to stay focused on writing sensibly. I kept almost mixing in references to things from Star Wars, Rick and Morty, and The Oatmeal comics because that’s apparently where my mind goes when I’m stimulating my imagination while falling asleep.

I seriously wrote two entire sentences about how many schmeckles a job would earn before I realized my eyes were closed and schmeckles are a currency from a particular episode from Season 1 of Rick and Morty (the Meeseeks episode). I definitely enjoy the show (Mostly. There are some parts I don’t enjoy because I feel like it crossed a line simply for the sake of transgressing rather than trying to make a statement about anything), but I wouldn’t want it injected into the story I’m working on. It’s entirely the wrong kind of story. This story is… just Fiction, I guess? YA but for adults? I’m having a hard time classifying it, honestly. Its like The Great Gatsby but about 20-somethings in the modern age and our particular brand of existential crisis/identity issues (which, depending on your analysis, makes it fairly similar to The Great Gatsby).

I’m willing to bet that, once I go through what I wrote tonight while in a more cognizant state of mind, I’ll find a whole bunch of stuff that doesn’t make sense or just kind of repeats itself. That’s usually what happens when I’m falling asleep and still trying to write (thank goodness I’m still allowed to edit…).

I’m going to be mostly busy tonight, but I should have time to cram some writing in if I work at it and focus well. Then Wednesday night is weekly night for Destiny 2 and Thursday is… probably a Skype call with a friend. And writing where I can fit it. Same for Wednesday. I can probably put off Destiny until 6 or 7 and write between the end of work and the start of our weekly play time. I’ll figure it out. I’m officially in “shut up and make it work” mode, so I’m confident the daily writing will get done.

One last gripe: as much as I love f.lux, I really hate that it notifies you of approaching wake-up times. Yes, I know I get up at 6am every morning, but I find it distinctly unhelpful to get a pop-up notification that my wake-up time is in 5 hours.

 

Daily Prompt

Everyone’s relationship with music is different. We all have different preferences for the kind of music we listen to, but we also have different views on what music is appropriate where. Today, write a scene about your character’s musical preferences and how they encounter music in their lives (for instance, I like chill and meander-y music because I often use it to help me relax when I’m tense or stressed). Feel free to expand into the Musician vs Listener territory, and how being either of those changes the relationship and how music is encountered.

 

Sharing Inspiration

Today’s inspiration is actually my go-to writing beverage. No alcohol or coffee for me. Sure, I’ll have an energy drink if I’m feeling particularly drained, but that’s more a pre-writing thing than something I enjoy consuming while writing. My favorite thing to drink is Tradewinds iced tea. It comes in giant jugs at the grocery store and is made of pure tea for the unsweetened variants and sugar for all the sweet variants, instead of high-fructose corn syrup. Not that there’s necessarily anything wrong with corn syrup (there’s a lot of anecdotes and hearsay, but little scientific evidence that I’ve encountered, so feel free to let me know if I’m wrong), I just prefer the taste and texture of drinks make with sugar instead of corn syrup. It saves me a lot of time because I don’t need to brew it or mix it and a nice cool beverage keeps me alert and focused more than a warm beverage does. Find your drink of choice and make sure you’ll well supplied!

 

Helpful Tips

If you’re stuck at a point and not sure how to proceed, I recommend talking out loud to yourself or a stuffed animal (or action figure or pet or whatever, something with a face.) Sure, an actual person could give you a response instead of just passively looking at you, but sometimes we’re not entirely ready for our work to be seen (or heard) by actual people. You get a lot of the same benefits, but without the anxiety that often goes with sharing your creativity with the people around you. Just sit down, talk about the problem, follow your trains of thought from beginning to end, and you’d be surprised at just how many details work themselves out once they’re off the page and in the air.