Tarot: A Pet Project

Lately I cannot get enough of tarot cards! I am addicted to doing at least one reading a day. I’d like to do more, honestly. I’ve recently started reading a book about how to write fiction using tarot cards and it sounds like so much fun! I’ve decided that since the Manga deck has such storytelling illustrations, I will use that deck for writing purposes. So of course that meant I needed to get a THIRD deck to keep in my backpack and use for travel or readings for friends. What kind of deck does one carry around with them?? A pet, of course. I got the Pagan Cat Deck. Now I have kitties with me all the time! As always, I must start with a deck interview. I tried to shuffle as best I could, but…

Tell me about yourself.

4 of Swords: Purrrr…. I’m napping right now. I like to rest and have deep thoughts. Contemplation is one of my favorite things to do. Aside from sleeping.

What are your strengths?

10 of Chalices: I’m an expert snuggler. I love to help create a happy home. Harmony and alignment are my specialties. 

What are your limitations?

3 of Chalices: I only come out when friends are around! I’m here to be a travel companion and to guide your friends and community. Just don’t call me an emotional support animal!

What are you here to teach?

The Magician: My abilities to share knowledge will spread magick to others. I will teach you and your friends to learn more about your inner powers, skills, and to find your own answers. And I’ll teach the world to love cats, of course. Mrow.

How can we best collaborate?

Hierophant: You, the hooman tarot reader, must establish yourself as a trusted tarot interpreter. Together we will uncover the mysteries of daily life for yourself and others. I’ll bring the catnip.

What is the potential outcome of our relationship?

9 of Chalices: If we work together, we can grant wishes. Bowls and bowls of tuna can be ready for us to feast upon. Satisfaction and happiness is in the future!

What breed of cat are you?

Mreh! I cannot be defined. Sometimes I am a gorgeous longhaired Persian requiring grooming and maintenance. Sometimes I am a black cat deeply in touch with the occult. And at all times, I am the QUEEN of the house, so don’t forget that. What matters most is that in my heart, I care about others and I want to be an inspiration.

I think this deck will require lots of petting, I mean shuffling, to make sure it gives concise answers. But I love it’s compact size and it’s already in my backpack ready to go on adventures! Who wants a reading from the Cat Deck??

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Danaeryzard & Alaria: A Gambling Interrogation

It’s Dungeons and Dragons time! Here’s the latest installment of the epic journey of our heroines, Danaeryzard and Alaria! (If you’re new here, you can read the earlier chapters of the saga using this tag search.)

…………..

The midday sun beat down on them as Danaeryzard and Alaria walked south on the beach towards the Fisherman’s Guild at Water’s Edge. The hot windy air stirred up scents of salt and old fish. They passed a few unused boats that remained on the shore; the fisherman had taken the better ones out to sea earlier in the day. As they walked around the perimeter of the massive Fisherman’s Guild building, they noticed that the entrance was a huge stable door, with the top half open to allow for some ocean breeze. Alaria motioned to Dany to be quiet and stay hidden for the moment – she was going to use her Wand of Magic Detection first.

With a flick of her wrist, Alaria cast a wave of magic across the open chamber of the Guild. The two then peeked inside carefully, to determine what the wand might reveal. Inside the Guild was one huge room, filled with fishing supplies of all sorts. Rods, tackles, bait and anything else that a fisherman might dream up. Alaria noticed that the rods and tools were gleaming with traces of enchantments, which meant that the fisherman were certainly maximizing their profits… but there was no sign of the magic crystals that they sought for their mission. 

Bengie

They also saw Bengie. An awkward preteen who was left behind to ‘stand guard’ at the Fisherman’s Guild while all the grown men were working during the day. Dany and Alaria decide to ask him a few questions, starting with the whereabouts of Cledus. 

“Cledus? Oh, he’s at the Constant’s Heart. He’s always there, these days. Always drunk too.” Bengie seemed pretty talkative, even though he was nervous talking to a Dragonborn and a Tiefling who seemed to have appeared out of the blue. Alaria boldly asked if Bengie had seen any crystals around, and he replied that the crystals were quite common in Water’s Edge. One could find crystals of all sizes in these waters, from small little crystals sold as trinket souvenirs, to large crystals spanning several feet.

Dany and Alaria immediately thought of the large crystals that were used during the battle against the Sun Wizard a few weeks ago. He, or one of his minions, must have procured the large crystals here. They needed more information! They thanked Bengie for his help and made their way back through town to the Constant’s Heart bar. 

The bar wasn’t very big, but large enough for a few tables in a back area, where a man and a woman were laughing very loudly. The rest of the bar patrons were sitting quietly and keeping to themselves… it was still the middle of the day, after all. Not the usual time to be rowdy and drunk. Alaria lead the way to the bar and they asked the bartender if he knew which one of these men was Cledus. The bartender seemed a little surprised that they were asking, because everyone in this town knows Cledus. He was the one playing Roll It over at the back table with Miss Sinder.

The bartender seemed to sigh when he mentioned Miss Sinder, but Dany didn’t really see what the big deal was with this woman. She looked in her direction and saw a woman who seemed normal enough, but she was very drunk. She seemed quite smitten with the man they knew now must be Cledus. She also seemed like she was somewhat of a rich woman, based on the fancy corseted dress she was wearing.

Cledus

Cledus however did not look rich. He looked like a fisherman and he looked very drunk. His arms flopped around as he spoke. The bartender told Dany and Alaria to go join them for a game! They awkwardly approached the table, sat down and Alaria plunked her huge coin purse down for all to see. 

“Can we join your game? We’ve got money.”

Sinder made a pout as Cledus said, “Sure, the more the merrier. Do you know how to play?”

They admitted that they did not, so Cledus said they could do a practice round first, to show them the ropes. He anted up one gold piece, and indicated that everyone should do the same. Sinder rolled her eyes and joined in too. Dany suddenly notices that Cledus seems to be staring at her.

The game is played simply, in two parts. First is a dice game, roll to see who gets the highest number. The two highest numbers then compete in an arm wrestle to determine the winner. The practice dice round ends up with Dany and Alaria as the finalists, and Dany’s large lizard arms beat Alaria’s small Tiefling frame without much effort. Everyone laughed and Cledus claimed it was all beginner’s luck. They formally introduce themselves by name and they get ready to ante up. This time, Cledus antes up 15G. Higher stakes.

This time, Alaria thought she’d try to use her skills and do a sleight of hand to win the dice game. She and Cledus both rolled a 6. Sinder decided to get up and get another drink, and this was when both Dany and Alaria noticed that Cledus hadn’t actually been drinking at all. He was PRETENDING to be drunk. Alaria gave Dany a look and then asks Cledus if he knows about the crystals in the lake. He winked at her and said, “Let’s finish the game, first. Time to arm wrestle!”

What they didn’t realize was that losing the arm wrestling round of Roll It means that you’re eliminated from the game. Unfortunately for Alaria, she was no match for Cledus’ arm wrestling abilities and had to sit out the rest of the game. The two travelers looked nervously at each other – they were pretty sure that they had to WIN in order to get any useful information out of Cledus. It was all up to Dany now.

In the second round, it came down to Dany and Sinder, and it was no surprise that Dany won the arm wrestling match once again. Finally her large lizard body was proving to be useful! She also couldn’t ignore the fact that Cledus was still staring her down. At the end of the second round, Dany again asked Cledus for information about the crystals. He sighed at their persistence, but didn’t seem to think the inquiry too suspicious. He told them that he actually had a delivery scheduled for the following evening, and maybe he could sell a few to them as well. But he doesn’t want to talk business! It was time for the final round.

Cledus tossed 35G on the table. “What do you say? Want to skip straight to the arm wrestle?” His manhood was now at stake too, no time to waste!

Dany almost felt bad for him as he tried to get a handle on her large three fingered claw hand. He was fumbling and had a terrible grip, she could tell his hand was sweating as well. She was grinning as she easily pushed his muscular arm into submission. Cledus was visibly annoyed but laughed and congratulated Danaeryzard anyway. 

She was getting a bit boisterous, and asked, “Don’t you know that Dragonborn are strong? Haven’t you seen any of my kin before?” He looked at her with a deep, thoughtful stare, and said, “Not for a long time.” Dany was unsure what to think of that, but didn’t want to push the subject further. She knew the history of her race. There were plenty of violent stories that maybe didn’t need to be mentioned.

Alaria pulled out her map and asked where Cledus would be meeting the other crystal buyer. He pointed out a specific cave on the map, by the outskirts of town. He also showed them where the inn was, and encouraged them to stay the night there. He would meet up with them at the cave tomorrow, at sunset.

However, Alaria had other plans. After Cledus took his leave, searching for wherever Sinder had gone, Alaria went back to the bar and picked up a small keg of beer to go. Since she had some liquid courage, she was going to try her luck again with She’i. Not knowing what else to do, Dany rolled her eyes and trotted along behind her as Alaria rushed back to the carpenter’s shack by the beach.

When they arrived, She’i was surprisingly receptive. She put down her tools and decided it was a good time to take a break! Alaria and She’i began to drink and flirt more, as Dany kept to herself in the corner. Dany was more worried about burping and subsequently burning down all of the wooden creations in the carpenter’s house, so when Alaria suddenly decided they should all go out to the water, Dany followed the two little drunk ladies outside. What Dany did not follow was the other two dropping their clothes! Dany decided to pass on the drunken ocean skinny-dipping, and spent the rest of the night at the inn.

The next morning, Alaria found her way back to Dany at the inn and since they had plenty of time to kill, they decided to go to the General Store across the road. Alaria had her stockpile of gold, much of it stolen from her victims in previous battles, and Dany had her winnings from Roll It the day before. They decided to pick up some needed supplies like food rations and crossbow bolts. The shopkeeper mentioned rumors about religious zealots sighted in the area and how they claimed they could use magic on the crystal trinkets he sold at the counter. Again, the partners exchanged glances. Zealots? These might be the Sun Wizard minions that are meeting up with Cledus this very evening!

It was time to hatch a plan. Dany and Alaria would continue to pose as crystal buyers. They planned to hide discreetly in the cave to scope out who the other buyers were, and if they happened to be religious zealots, or even the Sun Wizard himself, they would be ready. This evening they needed to get information, or even follow the other buyers back to where they came from – this was the best way to find the Sun Wizard and end his reign of terror once and for all!

The only thing left to do now was wait for the sun to set…

……………………

And so ends the latest installment of our DnD adventures! Thanks for reading! I hope you like this ongoing storyline lol! If you play Dungeons and Dragons too, let’s hear about your character in the comments! 🙂

Crystal Light Meditation

Meditation is something that I’ve started committing to on a daily basis, and I think it really helps me to reduce anxiety and find some clarity in this crazy life. As I wrote in my recent post about Nap York, I have been searching for new places to take my meditation to the next level.

One place that I’ve discovered is Modrn Sanctuary. OK, to be honest, I first read about them in Time Out New York, so I guess they discovered it and shared the info with me. But I have tried their Crystal Light Bed therapy twice now, and I really recommend that everyone try it out if they can.

My Crystal Light Bed

‘What is a Crystal Light Bed?’ you may ask. Excellent question, because it’s a very unique ‘energy bath’ that uses a combination of crystal light, ethereal soundscapes, vibration therapy, and energy frequencies to help clients reach a high level of relaxation and a deeply meditative state.

The Crystal Light Bed is a specially designed bed on a raised platform. You lay down on a “thermo-electrotherapeutic biomat” aka a comfy heated mat that sends vibrational pulses to the beat of the calming music. Over you are strategically placed quartz crystals aligned with the seven chakras of the body. Before the session begins, you select a frequency to align with your intention. Then you relax and let the senses be taken over…

I had done this therapy once before, and had visualizations of seeing the planet from space. That time I had chosen the lowest frequency, Root. This time I went for the opposite – the highest frequency, Crown. My experience was quite different.

I don’t know if it’s because I had a crazy day and my mind was racing, but I could not fully focus. But when I was able truly open up my mind, what I felt was more along the lines of floating.  First I felt like I was floating, maybe 6 inches above the biomat. I felt weightless. A few minutes later I felt as though my bed had moved 90 degrees; like it had moved perpendicular to the floor and I was somehow in a standing position. (Obviously I wasn’t really moving, but it really felt that way to me.) However, near the end of the session, my alignment changed again and I spent a majority of the final minutes feeling as though I was horizontal again, but on a slant. I felt like my feet were higher and my head was low to the ground, like I was on a seesaw or a scale tipped to the side. Afterward, I reflected and thought it was interesting that my head, or the Crown Chakra, was the ‘heavy’ side of my tipped scale of consciousness, because that was the frequency I had chosen for the session. My instincts tell me that this is a sign of chakra imbalance. Maybe I’m top heavy and need to work more on the lower chakras. I will have to do more research.

I am really loving that Crystal Light Bed. Not only does it look cool, but the biomat is so relaxing. I read that the bed costs $16,000 to make, which I guess means that I can’t have one in my house… lol! But I plan on going back again. The pricing is a little more affordable than it was last time, but as of now I only go when there is a discount or coupon to use. Modrn Sanctuary also has other services, including a Salt Room which I’ve heard lots of good things about. Compared to Nap York’s very low rates, Modrn Sanctuary is definitely more expensive but you get a more premium experience. It’s definitely great that there are options on both ends of the spectrum! I still have other places to explore, such as MNDFL Meditation near my office. It’s really a wonderful journey to find the best place to meditate.

It’s never too late to get started with meditation! Have you ever tried it? Do you have any places to recommend? I’d love to hear from you!

Carnies Come to Taproom 307!

What do you think of when you hear “Brooklyn, NY”? For most people, maybe it’s the Brooklyn Bridge, or the Barclay’s Center, or Junior’s Cheesecake. (All wonderful things!) But when it comes to me, I think of Coney Island!

Coney Island is so much fun to visit. They have roller coasters and amusement rides, a minor league baseball team, a beachfront boardwalk, a museum, an aquarium, and of course the freak show! There is an old world kind of charm that still lingers on Surf Ave. I used to go there a lot when I lived in Park Slope – I recommend that everyone visits Coney Island, and the original Nathan’s Hot Dogs location at least once! This is also the home of the Coney Island Brewery, which has awesome beer and hosts lots of super fun events, like when they hosted a Cinnamon Toast Brunch to celebrate the launch of their Cinnamon Toast Kolsch beer.

But I know. Sometimes it’s hard to make the trip. From where I live now, it’s like a two hour endeavor to get to Coney Island. Luckily, Coney Island Brewery understands that it’s not easy to get to them all the time, so they coordinate with local bars in Manhattan to bring a little bit of Coney Island to the heart of the city!

Most recently Coney Island Brewery hosted a tap takeover at Taproom 307. It was SUPER fun! I was greeted by a stilt-walker before I even got inside.

For me there were two highlights – delicious Watermelon Wheat Ale and the professional Sword Swallower: Claire Kasper! She was beautiful and talented, and of course very friendly and nice. Not only did she swallow a sword, but she used a hammer and nailed a nail up her nose. 😱

I got a video of the sword swallowing. Claire had this crazy wavy looking sword. Seemed pretty risky! Check it out!

Sword Swallowing

Love it!!! She’s so cool! Anyway, we had a lot of fun and I highly recommend everyone to check out Coney Island Brewery beers, events and the brewery itself! It’s super fun and they do lots of giveaways. I got Mermaid Pilsner pins and CIB sunglasses.

They give out raffle tickets when you buy their beer at the tap takeover, and then give out cool prizes! My friend won a sweet cooler!!

Meet the Manga Deck

Today I visited a store on 14th Street called Namaste. I wanted to pick up some witchy tools and a second full tarot deck. I had read a recommendation that you should keep a tarot deck for yourself, and use a different deck when you do readings for other people. And who couldn’t use another tarot deck (or 3 or 4)?? After deliberating over the vast selection of tarot decks available in the store, I decided upon a little, portable deck called the Manga Deck. It is designed to look like old Japanese manga and is very beautiful! I wanted to start out with it right away with a deck interview.

Keep in mind that when you buy a new deck, all of the cards are in order. I shuffled it as best I could but when you start out a new deck, it seems that you will inevitably get some similar suits. Interestingly, the recurring suit in this interview is Wands – perhaps this means this deck is best suited for matters of the mind, personal thoughts, ego and spirituality. Let’s get started!

こんばんは Manga Deck-san. Tell me about yourself.

Temperance

There is a time for fighting, and a time for healing. I will provide pure insights for your readings. I am balanced and fair. Readings from my deck will create clear visions as to which path is best to take, and will bring peace to the recipient.

What are your strengths?

2 of Wands

Where the eyes don’t see, the heart sees. My readings will help bring to light the deepest desires of the recipient. I can help make decisions and plan for the future and reach new levels of self-discovery. Plus, I’m very pretty, ですか ?

What are your limitations?

Ace of Wands

Know yourself and don’t be afraid. Keep the ego in check when reading my deck. The limit here is what the person you are reading for is willing to admit and realize about themselves. There is unknown potential to my power, if the person who is receiving this reading is able to truly listen and feel inspired by my guidance.

What are you here to teach?

3 of Wands

Sometimes the only thing to do is wait. The right path is laid out for those who are ready to take it. My deck will give foresight and will help your readings to prepare the recipient for the journey ahead. I will teach you to look ahead and consider the choices at hand, and how they will affect the future.

How can we best collaborate?

10 of Pentacles

It was before, it is today, it will be tomorrow… tarot is a timeless way to give guidance to your friends and family. My deck contains a wealth of information, ready to be shared when channeled properly. As an added bonus you, Glux, will feel accomplished when you complete a reading for one of your loved ones. 

What is the potential outcome of our relationship?

Prince of Pentacles

Curiosity is the initial contact between us and the world. Your friends and family will come to you requesting a reading, and each new reading is the birth of their interest into the world of tarot and alternative spirituality. In addition, this card symbolizes a new job, so if you want to get REALLY serious and read tarot cards for others, this is definitely a good first step.

As I have been reading these cards and looking through the artwork, I have definitely noticed some big differences between this deck and the Rider Waite deck. It almost feels like I’m learning to read in a different language! Some of the cards have been re-cast with different genders and roles, which keep it a little interesting for me – I’ve got to stay on my toes when I’m doing a reading with this deck! I think this deck is wonderful, it is an adorable compact size and the artwork is simply gorgeous.

I guess the next thing to do is…. schedule a reading with YOU! Do you want to learn insights into your deepest desires? Foresight to help you reach your best future? Let me do a reading for you with the Manga deck! Reach out to me, I’d be very happy to do a tarot spread with you.

Danaeryzard & Alaria: The Journey to Water’s Edge

It’s Dungeons and Dragons time! Here’s the latest installment of the epic journey of our heroines, Danaeryzard and Alaria! (If you’re new here, you can read the earlier chapters of the saga using this tag search.)

…………..

The moon was high in the sky – not that they could see it. Danaeryzard and Alaria, now Level 2 and official members of the Expeditionary Guard, were on overnight security detail at the Castle Drachen stables… in the pouring rain. Their charge seemed pointless and boring, so they played dice games to pass the time. 

“I heard something,” Alaria suddenly whispered.

Dany only heard the rain falling, but trusted Alaria’s instincts when it came to these things. They ventured outside towards the back of the stable, with Alaria creeping ahead to investigate. She stopped short and was surprised to be face to face with two cloaked spies. Through the rain she could see their drawn swords glimmering in the passing moonlight.

A spy

In her recent battle experience, Danaeryzard had learned that staying further away from the enemy was safer when it came to performing her magic. But these spies were unfamiliar to her. Who were they, and why were they on the offensive? Dany cast a True Strike cantrip to see if she could learn anything about these foes, but all she was able to determine was that they were not protected by any magic. 

Before they could set themselves up for an attack, one of the spies charged at Alaria. She was slashed on the arm! This didn’t stop her from jabbing at the second spy as he attempted to slip past and gain a better vantage point, taking out his crossbow and aiming directly at Dany. Feeling confident, Danaeryzard lifted her crystal orb and channeled her Fire Bolt cantrip through it to send a mote of flames at the second spy. However, the damage was minimal – she has yet to manifest a truly powerful flame with her sorcerer abilities. Or was the rain weakening her power? The second spy smirked at Dany, patting down the remaining flames on his cloak. She noticed him looking over her shoulder, past her, at something behind her. Whirling around, Dany saw two more spies silently approaching from the south and west! They were now surrounded by four spies. Who were they? Why were they attacking? 

One by one, the third and fourth spies shot their crossbow at Dany. She was in the middle of the road, a sitting duck… there was no chance to escape. The arrows pierced through her and she fell to the ground, blacking out once again.

Alaria, now in a bit of a panic after seeing her partner get skewered, darted away from the oncoming attackers. The rain was falling heavier now. From the east, the third spy was moving toward her… but then something happens. He comically stepped on a rake and it hit him directly in the face. The spy fell down instantly, howling in pain. The other three spies began to laugh at their comrade. A hood falls back from one of the spy’s cloaks and an Expeditionary Guard uniform could be seen, although obscured, underneath. 

“Can’t take a joke??” one of the spies asked Alaria, laughing.

“You’ve practically killed my partner! Who are you anyway?” She spat back at them.

The remaining spies pull back their hoods and reveal that they all are part of the Expeditionary Guard. This was apparently their idea of a practical joke, some ‘friendly’ hazing. Alaria was furious and insisted that they revive Dany at once. The veteran guards obliged and apologized; perhaps they went a little too far with their antics. Alaria and Danaeryzard tried to laugh it off, but Dany did notice Alaria stealing a pocket watch out of one of the veteran’s cloaks as they were leaving. Apparently hazing was a normal thing in the Expeditionary Guard. All they could do was hope that this was the only time they would be antagonized by their fellow guards. Alaria began to wonder if they should defect and find Ezra, maybe join up with the Midnight Ring instead…

Esmeralda

Back in the barracks not long after, the duo is visited by the beautiful yet strangely intimidating Esmeralda, a high ranking officer in the EG. She invites them to come and speak with her about something important. They followed her to the mess hall of the barracks, and Kolari was there waiting for them. A new mission was at hand!

Intel had reached the castle regarding the Sun Wizard. The Castle Drachen spies had learned that the protective crystals that the Sun Wizard had used in the Desert Cave battle came from Lake Constant, located at Water’s Edge. They were tasked with journeying to Water’s Edge and speaking to an informant named She’i. Kolari explained that She’i is a very protective and secretive type, and they would need to use a particular passphrase to get any information. When She’i asks, “What was the weather like yesterday?” they were to respond, “It was cloudy, until it wasn’t.”

The mission: Learn about the crystals. Find the Sun Wizard and defeat him. Simple right?

Luckily, Quartermaster Thamdid showed up just then, offering special new items for Dany and Alaria: a Circlet of Blasting and a Wind Fan, respectively. But he warns them that these magical items have a traceable aura. Powerful enemies such as the Sun Wizard will be able to detect such things, and he implored them to use these items with care. The more magical items they gather, the stronger this aura will be, and it could put them in danger. The two nodded and carefully placed their new magical items, along with some more food rations, into their packs and prepared for the three day journey to Water’s Edge. 

Alaria was given the map and proved to not be very good at reading it – the partners lost their way at the start, and had few hours of delay getting started. But the following days were sunny and there was a sense of progress in the air. They breakfasted in the Forest Wilderness under the trees. As they packed up their belongings and prepared to get back on the road, they heard a sniffing sound. Dany and Alaria exchanged confused glances, and silently readied themselves to investigate.

Blink Dog

Before they even took a step, a strange canine appeared out of nowhere a few yards directly in front of them! It took a step, sniffed a bush, and disappeared. Danaeryzard opened her mouth, about to ask what was that – when it appeared again, in a different location, a few yards further away. Alaria could sense that this animal did not pose a direct threat, and they decided to follow it. They approached it quietly, and as they got closer Dany could clearly see this canine, which had a sloping, pointed head and mean eyes. She instantly remembered that she had seen this species before, back in the markets of her Draconian village. It was a Blink Dog. But was it alone?

Gnoll

Alaria and Dany quietly pursued the Blink Dog deeper into the Forest Wilderness. That was when they saw who was luring them in. Two hairy, doglike Gnolls were snarling and hoisting up crossbows in the duo’s direction. 

Danaeryzard felt a burning anger rise within her. She should have said something when she remembered about the Blink Dog. While not violent, those were mean dogs and usually had evil masters. If Dany had mentioned this, maybe they wouldn’t have walked right into this trap… she felt angry and stepped forward, breathing in and feeling the air heat and steam within her body. Danaeryzard leaned back and harshly exhaled a fiery blast of Dragon Breath at the Gnolls. They screamed in pain and surprise. One of them was badly burnt.

Alaria expertly shot a bolt at the burned Gnoll with her crossbow, and he began to stagger. The other Gnoll was stunned by this onslaught and missed his attack. The Gnolls realized that their little plan had backfired – they were clearly overpowered by Danaeryzard and Alaria!

Seeing an opening, Danaeryzard conjured up a Magic Missile spell. Three bolts of magical energy burst from her crystal orb and hit the gnarly Gnolls. The burned Gnoll dropped to the ground and Alaria finished him off with an arrow. In final pursuit, Dany used what was starting to become her favorite cantrip – Fire Bolt – and hurled flames at the remaining Gnoll. After another pro crossbow shot from Alaria, the fleeing Gnoll fell face down and did not rise again.

The duo proceeded on, though not before Alaria did her signature move – steal anything of worth that the corpses were carrying. Danaeryzard simply laughed. The little Tiefling thief was consistent, that was certain!

The next day, Dany and Alaria finally stepped out from the woods and into a rocky clearing. Up ahead they could see a coastal fishing village. They climbed over the rocks, towards the huts and beach houses. It was time to get some information! They needed to find She’i. Alaria checked her map and saw that Kolari had marked She’i’s location. It was right on the coast, just north of a huge structure that looked important. Boats were docked up along side this large building on the coast, and fishing rods leaned along the exterior walls. 

However, She’i had a much more humble home. It looked more like a workshop than a residence. Partially built boats lay on the sand outside. They saw fire coming from the chimney and exchanged nods. She’i must be home. Alaria and Dany cautiously approached the house and knocked on the door. A voice from inside called out and asked who was there.

“Expeditionary Guard. We were sent here on official castle business,” Alaria replied, sounding official. There was a sound of shuffling inside, and the voice moved audibly closer to the door.

She’i

“Keep your voice down! ……What was the the weather like yesterday?”

Danaeryzard replied instantly, “It was cloudy, until it wasn’t.”

There was a pause. Dany looked nervously at Alaria. Maybe she said it wrong? A moment later, the door swung open and She’i stood before them, ushering them inside. The house is filled with dusty tools and half finished projects. In the dim light from the hearth they can see that She’i is very beautiful, and seemed to be staring at Alaria with interest. She’i apologized for the secrecy; she does not want to be known in the village as an informant. Looking thoughtfully at Dany and Alaria, she admitted that she was expecting the castle to send human guards. Dany felt a twinge of hurt and thought, Why did people have to be so abrasive towards Dragonborn and Tiefling races? They bleed and feel pain just like everyone else. What did it matter if they were human or not? 

She’i began to explain what she knew: that the crystals that had been used by the Sun Wizard were harvested locally from Lake Constant. She’i knew of some fishermen who would meet with outsiders late at night; she had seen them on the beach. These crystals were extremely valuable because they could harness magical energy. 

Dany and Alaria pressed She’i for more information. She revealed that the head of the Fishing Guild was the one who was selling the crystals to the outsiders. Presumably one of them was the Sun Wizard, or one of his minions. The head of the guild was named Cletus, and he was usually found at the guild during the day. She’i pointed out the window to the large building that the duo had passed on their way to her home. Of course! The large building was the Fishing Guild. 

They thanked She’i for the information and Alaria did some awkward flirting as they left. Dany rolled her eyes but secretly she was jealous. Nobody ever flirted with her… was it the scales, or the smoky breath? She could only wonder.

Alaria and Dany walked together towards the Fishing Guild, ready to confront Cletus.

………………….

Thanks for reading the latest chapter of the Danaeryzard and Alaria saga! I hope you enjoy these these blog entries, because DnD is super fun to play and super fun to recap and share with all of you! I’ve been trying to record a screen capture of our sessions (we play on Google Hangouts and Roll20) but I keep having technical issues. But if I can get it to work some day, is that something that you guys would want to watch?? Let me know in the comments! 😛

Splatfest TMNT-style!

Last week it seemed like EVERY Nintendo Switch fan was talking about Splatoon 2. Why? Because the latest Splatfest had been announced and this one’s a doozy! It’s a three week single elimination bracket tournament to determine WHO IS THE BEST NINJA TURTLE!!

The animals in Mayor Gluxie’s Pocket Campsite were gearing up for the epic battle. Luckily the latest premium fortune cookie (Hopkins’ Game Cookie) allowed us to have a Nintendo Switch at the campsite! If anyone is wondering… we have a 3DS too. Come visit my campsite and see! lol

Naturally, the first thing you do in a Splatfest is pick a side. Round One of the TMNT-themed tournament pitted Leonardo against Raphael. #TeamLeo and #TeamRaph were talking a lot of smack on social media leading up to the big day. Which team did I pick?

#TeamRaph all the way!

If it comes down to the goody-two-shoes Leonardo and anger-management-candidate Raphael, I’m picking the deep moody choice for sure! I never liked Leo even in the cartoons that I watched in the 90’s. (For those who are interested – my TOP FAVE is Michaelangelo, who will be competing in the next Splatfest this weekend. Cowabunga!)

Team Raphael was very strong. I felt that we were dominating from the beginning. It definitely helped that I had practiced a bit at the Nintendo Switch meetup event that I went to the night before!

After so much winning, I definitely needed a break. Luckily the Splatoon 2 Amiibo mode has lots of fun photo op things to play around with. I decided to take a dance break and have some fun!

Splatoon 2 is really a lot of fun. I recommend it to anyone who is a fan of shooting games and paintball, because this game is a fun combination of the two. It’s kid friendly, but has enough challenging ranked modes to keep intense gamers involved too. The Splatfests add the voting fun that I miss from the “Everybody Votes” Wii Channel (throwback!!) along with friendly competition between friends. Plus it’s way better than ARMS. Forget ARMS.

OH and of course, who won the Splatfest? As if there were any question…

Book Report: It

Custom cover art by @gluxbox

Book Title: It

Author: Stephen King

About the Author: Well known horror writer with several of his scary books having been adapted into scary MOVIES which were also good. King is from Maine, and many of his stories seem to take place in New England. He has won awards, you can Google him just as easily as I can… lol. I’ve been reading Stephen King novels since I was a preteen at summer camp.

Main Characters: Sooo many characters. Here are the main ones. WARNING: SPOILERS BECAUSE THIS BOOK IS OLD AND THERE ARE ALREADY TWO MOVIES OUT FOR THIS BOOK SO JUST DEAL WITH IT!! lol

Bill: The leader of the “Losers Club” whose younger brother was murdered by It. He has a st-st-stutter but he’s brave and determined. His family basically started ignoring him after his brother died, so he’s a very sympathetic character as well. Interestingly, his character turns into a horror novelist when he gets older… is this character secretly based on King himself?? (No idea. lol)

Ben: Old Haystack is the fat guy in the “Losers Club” but he’s also the brains of the operation. He turns into some famous engineer or architect when he grows up, and also loses all the weight. He is usually the main target for the mean bullies in their childhood. He has a huge crush on the only girl in the group…

Beverly: A redheaded misfit whose outward appearance is described in much more detail than any of the characters, which I thought was kind of lame. More than once, the hardness of her nipples was described in unnecessary detail. Aren’t these kids supposed to be like 12? That made me uncomfortable… Anyway, she comes from a broken home with an abusive father and ends up marrying an equally abusive asshole. But she is strong, spunky and can aim a slingshot like nobody’s business!

Richie: The funny-guy of the “Losers Club” who talks in a million different voices, most of them racist. Let’s say that’s because of the time period when (some) of the book takes place, late 1950’s. He smokes cigarettes and is mostly ‘normal’ aside from that. He turns into a famous radio DJ in his adult life, that’s kinda cool.

Eddie: The hypochondriac of the “Losers Club” (is there always one of those in a group of kids??) who is convinced he has asthma, but he really just has high anxiety because of his overbearing mother. Even after the creepy pharmacist explains that his aspirator is a placebo, he kept using it throughout his adult life. (Why? Did he end up getting a real prescription from a doctor?)

Mike: Hate to say it, but the token black kid of the “Losers Club.” He’s a real historian type, with the local perspective and has compiled information about It throughout the years. He is the only one of the group that never moved away from Derry, ME. His family owned a farm next to the town bully, which led to all kinds of mean stuff happening to him specifically. Then as an adult he worked at the library. Why didn’t he get haunted by It all the time…?

Stan: While we’re at it, the token Jew of the “Losers Club,” Stan has a thing about birds. He is an avid bird-watcher and carries a book about birds in his pocket at all times. However, apparently he was the weakest of the group in terms of mentally stability. His childhood self has a very different impact on the story than his adult self.

Henry: The bully. This guy is an asshole. His dad is crazy. It uses it’s powers of evil through this kid sometimes. He runs a gang of big oafish jerk dudes that antagonize the “Losers Club” all summer. He is literally trying to kill them.

It: Evil manifested into an alien monster that can morph into your greatest fears.

Plot Summary: When Bill’s brother Georgie was killed in 1957, it started a chain of murders with similar horror and gory details. Adults don’t want to acknowledge the details that kids keep noticing – a suspicious clown at the scene. Seeing a strange balloon. Inanimate objects moving. Even blood splatters that grown-ups just don’t see. This is the world of horror that the Losers Club lived in during the summer of 1958 when they joined together to put an end to “It.” The Losers Club was a band of friends who all shared experiences of almost getting caught by It and vowed to put an end to the terror. After their childhood attempt rendered It dormant but ultimately not dead, more kids ended up getting murdered in the 1980’s, and Mike reminded the group of their promise. Some of them made it back… and they had to regain their memory before they could take on the monster again. As adults, they had new horrors to face but they put an end to It in a much more final way. That’s as basic of a plot summary as I can muster without giving away everything.

Lessons Learned: Life in the 1950’s seemed pretty bad for kids. Parents didn’t listen and ditched you at the movie theater for hours, you had to ride back home on the back of your friend’s unsafe bike… Yeesh.

Personal Opinions: I would like to comment on the story-telling of this novel. I’ve read plenty of other Stephen King books and this one is extremely non-linear. Painfully. You jump between different time periods and at the end of the book this becomes exceedingly confusing. The story is 80% flashback, told via memories, police reports and diary entries. There is a TON of descriptive back story about the town and some of the characters, but at what point does it become information overload? I also take issue with a lot of unresolved details at the end of the book. If you are going to spend an entire chapter describing the backstory of one side character, and then kill him off with half of a sentence and nobody bats an eye or asks any questions about it…? That just seems like bad writing. I felt the novel was overly long and drawn out. It was laborious to read and get through… and when I finally made it to the end, I was so appalled by the lack of resolution in certain areas. Important things were not explained enough. This was not the best Stephen King book.

For the record, I would recommend The Shining.

Napping in the City that Never Sleeps

People love New York City because of all of the hustle and bustle. So much opportunity! If you can make it here you can make it anywhere! It’s the city that never sleeps! No wonder we’re so stressed out.

I’ve been lowkey going on a spiritual journey and exploring new ideas and methods of finding true happiness. (Sounds deep, I know.) My first step was reading self love books, which I still do and enjoy very much. And there are TONS OF BOOKS about this. After doing some reading, I realized there was a lot of potential in meditating regularly. (Since then I have also been exploring tarot cards, crystal grids and more… but I want to stay on topic here.)

Meditation can be a powerful tool in helping you to focus, calm yourself, or seek answers to a problem that you are having. In my meditations, I have experienced various kinds of visualizations, from out-of-body experiences to seemingly traveling to far off places… But this doesn’t always happen. Sometimes it can be very hard to focus; my mind wanders, or an outside element distracts me. This setback has caused me to start looking for new places to meditate, or maybe a class.

My search brought me to Nap York, located right near Penn Station. (Conveniently located for commuters who might have missed their train and need a place to chill while they wait for the next.) Nap York provides various services: the first floor is the Nap York Cafe, which I haven’t tried, but serves a variety of healthy looking organic fare. At the cash register you can enroll in a yoga or meditation class, or you can reserve a private nap pod. I had received a token for a free 30 min nap pod, so that is what I tried out.

I was told to walk up the stairs to the fourth floor, and to go into Pod 19. Admittedly, I was a little nervous – it was VERY dark and quiet. I was worried about making a noise and disturbing someone. When I got to the fourth floor, I found a wall of giant cubby holes. It was like a pod hotel; there were 2 rows of pods stacked one upon the other, with little steps to get into the top row pods, if that’s where you were assigned. Along the opposite wall were leafy green plants and a humidifier or some kind of incense burner. It wafted out a light, pleasant smelling fog.

Inside the basic nap pod is what you see in my photo: a pillow, a blanket, a little shelf with what looked like ear buds, and a strobe light. I say strobe bc it flashes briefly occasionally to give you your bearings without turning a light on. I have a feeling if I had messed with it, I could have turned the light on and used it for a reading light or something. But that’s not why I was there. I crawled into my little pod, drew the black curtain closed, and turned on one of the guided meditation recordings I have on my phone (using my own ear buds bc that’s not the kind of thing I like to share with strangers lol). On the top of each pod ceiling was a small sea of illuminated stars.

I felt that the nap pod was a great place to meditate. While there were a few dim lights in the pod, the overall deep darkness of the space allows you to really tune into your other senses. My meditation was deep and refreshing, and the time went by quickly. I definitely recommend Nap York for someone who needs a quiet escape, even if for just a half hour. (You can absolutely book much longer reservations, btw.) I am extremely interested in checking out one of their guided meditation classes.

Now, a review wouldn’t be complete with a few negatives. Here were my minimal gripes:

  • The “studio” space reserved for classes looked really small. I saw two girls warming up for a yoga class on the second floor, and their studio space was simply a part of that room, sectioned off by large planters. I would imagine if there was a class with more than 5 students, it would be very cramped.
  • There was nobody on the fourth floor to guide me to my pod. I think someone was supposed to be there. Since I felt very alone, I also felt a little insecure. Was I in the right place? What if some stranger jumps into my pod?? (Turned out that I actually did go into the wrong pod, but I didn’t notice until I was leaving, and nobody was there so it didn’t matter.)
  • I had a headache basically as soon as I left. Not sure if that was going from the darkness to the light or what, but that was kind of weird.

ANYWAY, I still liked Nap York. I think it is a great place to take a break and recharge my spirit. I think I might join their membership because I will get a discount on all services – which would allow me to try out one of the more DELUXE nap pods. I like the convenience of the location by Penn Station. They are open late too, which is nice to know. You can learn more about their services and pricing here: napyork.com/rates

Do you have any secret spots like this that are good places to escape? Let me know where you go to recharge, I’m open to new ideas!!

Inside the Nintendo Labo

With birthdays come presents, and so on Friday when I (and thousands of others) received the Amazon Treasure Truck alert for Nintendo Labo pick-up in NYC and a friend suggested this be her gift to me… I decided to go pick one up!

Amazon Treasure Truck!

I’ve never purchased anything through Treasure Truck before, so I was interested to see how it would work. My pickup location was near a Whole Foods, so I walked over to the store and found the truck stationed around the corner. There was only a short line – I don’t know if that’s because I got there on the early side, or if the demand is low for this game, but I was relieved that this wasn’t going to take too long. A table was set up for people to enter to win a free Nintendo Switch, and other workers were scanning our Treasure Truck QR codes and handing out the huge Nintendo Labo boxes.

Practice Tutorial: Joy Con Holder

The Nintendo Labo Variety Kit is a collection of “Toy Con” construction sets, as well as a Nintendo Switch game to guide you through the assembly and facilitate the cool game features that the Toy Con unlock. While the game is certainly geared towards kids, an adult is most likely required during the Make phase, which can get a little complicated! I’ve only made the RC Car Toy Con so far, check it out!

The RC car has no wheels, and is powered by the Joy Con inserted into the side, causing vibration down the legs of the RC car, propelling it forward. (It only works on hard surfaces, and my room is carpeted so I just used the Labo box.)

The RC Car set comes with a cardboard car to follow along with in the instructions, a matching ‘antenna’ to stick on the Switch console, as well as a few extra add-ons and stickers! It also comes with a second cardboard RC car that you can build if you have a second set of Joy Con to use with it. Right now I only have the gray set, but I’m going to get a colored Joy Con set with a birthday gift card. (SIDE BAR: I really can’t decide which color Joy Con set to get! Red and Blue, or Neon Yellow and Pink?? They are both really cool! I wish there was an Orange and Blue option… Leave me a comment on which set I should get tho!!)

You probably wanna see the RC car in action. It’s actually pretty loud. I made a quick video for you to see that this actually works. In the video you can see that I use the Switch console as a controller and press buttons on the screen to make the RC car move – and I can control the left and the right independently if I choose. That’s cool and all, but a little bland, right?

When you complete the initial construction and play through the mechanics, you are taken to the next phase of the Nintendo Labo game, the Discover phase. In this separate section of the game, you can explore some additional features of the new Toy Con you just built, and see some suggested new ways to play. When it comes to this RC Car that I made, did you realize that since the Joy Con utilize built-in IR technology that this RC car also has a fully functional ‘night-vision’ camera?? I didn’t, until I was checking through this Discover section! I used it in the day time but in my photo here you can clearly see the camera POV of my RC Car as it sits on top of the Nintendo Labo box.

There are other hidden features in the RC car, such as the ability to auto-navigate via use of reflective tape. There is also a ‘two player’ mode for people who have a second set of Joy Con. You can build that second RC Car that I mentioned and set up RC Sumo Matches! Or try racing them! Or come up with something else… I had fun freaking out my cat with my RC Car!! lol

OK so now you have your RC Car, and maybe a friend to RC Sumo with, but you still need to add a little SOMETHING to make this more fun? Nintendo Labo also provides a few extras to customize your RC Car. There is a Plow attachment, an Elephant head attachment, and a Sunglasses attachment. The Discover section also shows ideas on how to use paints, markers, and all sorts of materials to really customize the RC car and make it special. As a bullet journal enthusiast, I have plenty of washi tape and stickers on hand. Here is my final RC Car Masterpiece:

My RC Car! Does he need a name??

What do you think of my RC Car? If anyone else has this game and wants to race or sumo wrestle their car, hit me up!! lol

Since Nintendo Labo is so hands-on and mysterious to everyone, I’ll continue to document my construction of Toy Con projects for future blog entries. Unless you totally think this is over-sharing and want me to stop, let me know in the comments about that too hahaha!!

In closing, Happy Earth Day! And Carney‘s Birthday! Plus it’s Nature Day in Animal Crossing Pocket Camp! (Not to mention there’s ANOTHER new feature coming soon in ACPC! I’ll blog about it when it’s released!! Yayyyyy!)