Podcast Recommendations: What I'm Listening to this Week!

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I have a great fondness for podcasts, particularly audio dramas. Listening to a well-edited, engrossing story helps any repetitive work task become a joy. As a laboratory specialist in a science lab, I spend a lot of time doing repetitive tasks by myself.

Because I adore podcasts so much, I’d like to write more about them here on my blog. I would love to have a conversation with you, dear reader, about the sorts of podcasts you like. I’m always looking for podcast recommendations.

In fact, remaining on my podcast list week after week is a bit of a challenge for the podcasts. I’m pretty ruthless with what actually gets a listen. Each week, I evaluate to see if there are any podcasts I want to cut off the list and replace with something else from my long list of podcasts I’m interested in. I don’t have enough time to listen to all the podcasts, so I pick and choose carefully.

My favorite pods are often fiction, but I also love longform journalism, true crime and Disney park planning. I will give any genre a chance though.

In the future, I plan to spotlight some of the podcasts I listen to. But for now, here is my current playlist for the next week.

Here’s what I am listening to this week:

  1. The Season 11 finale of The No Sleep Podcast

  2. Episode 307 of TANIS

  3. Season 3, Episode 3 of Wooden Overcoats

  4. Subject: Found Season 2 finale

  5. Episode 10 of Season 2 of In The Dark

  6. Chapter 9, Part 1 of We’re Alive

  7. The Season 2 finale of Alba Salix: Royal Physician

  8. An older episode of Radio Harambe- #67

  9. The Wicked Library’s episode entitled “The Screen Play”

  10. The first episode of the second season of Lake Clarity

  11. Limetown’s back and I’m on Episode 2 of Season 2

  12. WDW Ride Guide Podcast- Living with the Land

New Podcast I’m checking out this week: gone cold- Texas true crime

These folks took the time and effort to find and follow me on Twitter, so I’m going to check them out this week. starting with what I believe is their first episode: Carla Walker Episode 1

What are you listening to now? Do you have any recommendations?

Mobile Game Recommendation: Hungry Hearts Diner (free)

The last month has been a whirlwind of activity with both joyful times and sad times. Our two elderly cats (18 & 19 years old) passed away from very different reasons just over a month apart from each other. Before they passed, each needed lots of individual care and attention, and trips to the vet. Aside from the passing of Whisket and Dixee, we both had a lot going on at work and that led to many late nights getting home since we carpool. There were some joyous times as well, though, we had my parents out for Thanksgiving week, we had a Pathfinder RPG session, and we went home for a couple days to celebrate Christmas!

Before we left for home, I downloaded a few mobile games on to my tablet. I rarely play mobile games, but my desktop PC cannot come with me when I travel! One of those games was a free “Editor’s Choice” simulation game called Hungry Hearts Diner: A Tale of Star-Crossed Souls. The game had 4.9 out of 5 stars. The reviews included things like “relaxing”, “heartfelt”, “great story” and “beautiful”. I’m all about story, and love beautiful indie games, so I was intrigued and downloaded it. I’m so glad I did!

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The mechanics are a cooking-style game. However, the play is less about time and more about strategy of meal selection. There was no rushing and being overwhelmed by a timer. This game is slow-paced and thoughtful. I chose the dishes that would lead to my customer’s happiness, and that was what mattered the most. The mechanics are very simple, fairly intuitive and it is easy to play.

As you satisfy your customer’s culinary desires, you unlock their story through a conversation with them. The stories are dialogue-based, and for me they were just the right length. There was no “wall of text” but there was enough in each conversation for me to feel for the characters, and to compel me to learn more.

The only downside of this game is the stories are too short! I want more of this game, and I am so sad I am almost done with it and that there isn’t a sequel. Still, I’m super glad I found it. I loved it, and would highly recommend it to anyone enjoys cute stories and casual, easy games!

Connections: Venessa Jeong (Early Fall 02)

Last Time: I introduced Venessa and she landed her first gig as an actress. Time to go on set!

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It was Venessa’s very first day of paid acting. She was nervous, but mostly excited. Her life long dream was becoming a reality. The first thing she did when she arrived was have her makeup and hair done.

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She was totally amazed at the transformation. She looked like a totally different person! The next step was to get into costume.

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And before long she had transformed into a pirate. ready to take to the high seas.

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Her first shoot went great! It was a whirlwind (and we forgot to take more photos), but it was amazing! Venessa mets loads of really interesting people and had a lot of fun. She was going to another audition as soon as she could.

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Venessa has her sights on another audition. For her next audition, and she suspects many future auditions, it’s going to be important to keep up her strength and fitness. What if a role requires dancing, for instance? She decided she needed to do more than just jogging and went to the gym.

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At the gym, she made quite the fool of herself in front of a very nice (and cute) gym trainer named Don. Despite her failures, Don was helpful and encouraging. Don and Venessa were actually getting along quite well.

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Venessa is continuing to build her social media presence which sometimes includes fierce bathroom selfies.

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As I mentioned last time, Venessa loves people but doesn’t have any friends in the area. Venessa has been chatting with everyone she meets to remedy her loneliness. She is also starting a club called the “Actor’s Guild” for local actors.

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She even invited her gym trainer over to her house to hang out. She wasn’t sure if he’d be interested, but to her surprise he enthusiastically accepted her invitation…

Next Time: Hanging out with Don and the next audition.

Mail Call: An Advent Calendar with Journal Supplies!!!!

Yesterday, I received the package containing the advent calendar I ordered from one Mrs. Brimble. I’m SO EXCITED.

I adore advent calendars and I typically have a couple to open each season. In the past, I have done Lego calendars, Tsum-tsum calendars, and others. This year, I wanted something more practical…something useful that wouldn’t create more clutter (currently a focus in my home) but would still make me gleefully happy and childlike. Thankfully, I stumbled upon this calendar!

Mrs. Brimble’s Advent Boxes are individually wrapped gifts of planner supplies. I got the washi tape box, which I found on Etsy. However, they have one with general planner supplies too. You can bet that if I like this one, next year I’ll be getting both!

I will post updates with photos of my treasures throughout the month of December.

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Connections: Venessa Jeong (Early Fall 01)

I’ll explain more about Connections in a later post. It is sort of a Sims 4 challenge, but more like a style of play. For now, though, I’m just going to introduce you to Venessa Jeong.

Venessa desperately wants to be a famous actress. Unfortunately, despite being a (young) adult, she’s never had any training in acting or other related skills. She has no experience being on a stage or performing for an audience. Still, she knows it is the life for her.

She recently moved to Del Sol Valley because it is the place to be for celebrities, and a celebrity-in-the-making like herself.

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The most important thing in Venessa’s life is her career. When she moved to Del Sol Valley, she already had an agent lined up. A few days after moving in, she was already signing up for auditions and preparing for them…which included talking to herself in front of a mirror…a lot!

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Venessa adores people. She gets along with almost everyone she meets. Sadly, she has no friends or family here in Del Sol. Fortunately, she is very good at making new ones. After practicing for her audition for hours and hours, she explored her local neighborhood.

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She bumped into her first celebrity! Not just any celebrity- Judith is a global superstar. As you might have guessed, she had no interest in giving Venessa the time of day…or an autograph…or a selfie. She did acknowledge her existence, though. And that was enough for Venessa.

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Venessa got picked up at the first audition she went to. How exciting! She didn’t expect that. All of the practice must have paid off. The new gig required her to be in good shape, so she started a workout routine.

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One of her neighbors, Caterina, invited her to a local lounge…a hotspot for meeting celebrities and Venessa met Dirk Dreamer! Dirk is a pretty well-known celebrity, but unlike Judith, Dirk was very kind to Venessa. She got an autograph, photos and a hug!

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Inside the lounge, while other patrons fawned over Dirk, Venessa cheerfully welcomed conversation with anyone willing to chat with her

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She had the opportunity to chat with Dirk more later in the evening, and he remained very kind. They discussed his interests outside of work, his day and Venessa complimented his attire before his attention was once again consumed by other fans.

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Dustin, a much less popular celebrity, was also at the lounge. Venessa was still very much interested in chatting with him, though the rest of the room was completely consumed by Dirk. Unfortunately, Dustin wasn’t as interested in Venessa’s fangirling.

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The following morning was Venessa’s first day of what she hoped would be her life career! Her first gig in acting. She was nervous, but prepared, and super excited to get on to the set.

Next time: We go on set with Venessa!

I Don't Need to be Perfect

I take a class called Nourishing Resilience which is a combination of stress management, nutrition and therapy. A sort of…poem? emerged from the work we did last week in class. One individual’s work inspired a bit of a group writing session and this is what I wrote…

I don’t need to be perfect to…

be a loving friend.

be a good daughter.

be a useful employee.

be a compassionate person.

be a good partner.

I don’t need to be perfect to…

be happy.

be fulfilled.

be loved.

be needed.

be wanted.

I don’t need to be perfect to…

have a child.

have fun.

love life.

for others to like me.

I don’t need to be perfect to be me.

I don’t need to be perfect.

Clean Slate

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I like clean slates.

A blank piece of paper. A new notebook. The next project. A fresh D&D campaign. An unwritten story. It’s relaxing to me. Full of possibilities and lacking in mistakes. This might have something to do with an inward desire for perfection, and never being satisfied with my own work.

I’ve been wavering back and forth on how to proceed with this blog. I’ve changed my plans many times. I read a lot of articles about having a niche, and a schedule, and something called SEO. The articles told me if I didn’t follow the formula, I would lose readers and they would never return. I needed to choose my goals and motivations. I needed to participate in Twitter chats and up my Pinterest game. I had to decide exactly what I wanted to write about. I had to choose topics that would be helpful to my readers. I should scan for what’s trending so I can frame my posts to match. All these decisions needed to be made or I was doing it wrong and I would never succeed. It was overwhelming.

Consequently, I was paralyzed with inaction. I was planning out posts…I even wrote one that I never published because halfway through I decided I needed to focus on a different topic. So…nothing was posted for several weeks.

Two things have happened recently that might be turning things around:

1) I started reading the Bullet Journal Method. I was already a Bullet Journaler, but the book has made me not only get back to basics, but really focus on how I spend my time. The last few weeks I’ve been swimming in a sullen sea of introspection and philosophy…asking the “why” for everything I do and honing in on specific goals to focus on now. I’m narrowing down what I’m giving my attention to. Being more intentional with my time.

2) I came across a blog called The Story of John Sennett, and I read this post: https://thestoryofjohnsennett.com/2018/10/26/am-i-a-blogger/. In that post, John addresses these very issues- niche, schedule, doing what you are “supposed” to do as a blogger. Here’s a bit of that post:

I’m a ‘ME’ blogger. I don’t have a niche. I don’t fit into a category. I don’t tick a box. I talk about everything. My focus is me, my story, the things I love, my thoughts and experiences.

The term ‘niche’ is damaging. We don’t need to feel like we don’t fit in because of the term and as a result, feel like we’re not a blogger because we don’t fit a ‘niche’.

John doesn’t follow a posting schedule. According to one of his comments on a different post, he also doesn’t really edit his posts. He talks about whatever he wants to…and his readers are really engaged with lots of comments on every post.

I love blogging. Possibly because I’m an introvert who loves talking and sharing. I’m the opposite of a private person, but I’m too shy to engage in conversations with new people in person, and in real life conversations are exhausting. This isn’t exhausting. In order for this to be a conversation though, I need comments. But that’s all I want to build a community of online friends whom I can share my many passions with.

I want to be like John. I want to do my own thing, my own way and love it. I want to have fun with my blog. I work a full-time job. I’m married with lots of very needy fur-children. I have a fairly long commute. I have lots of hobbies that require my attention. I have a life, and I should stop apologizing for that. If anything, having a life should give me more interesting content, right?

For this reason, I’m giving myself a blank slate. It’s the same website, but it’s a new blog and this is the first post.

On this blog I will talk about Walt Disney World, cats, Bullet Journals, self-improvement, self-care, anxiety & depression, stress management, Disneybounding, books, podcasts, video games, board games, Pathfinder, Virginia, traveling and more. There won’t be a set schedule, a certain number of posts per topic, or anything else that checks off a box. And we’ll just see what happens.

Oh, there will still be polls, though…because I like polls.

If you’ve read this far- thank you.