Donuts and Sinkholes – Donut Country

Xbox Game Pass is so worth the money. I mentioned Xbox Game Pass before and I will keep reiterating how much I love it. There are so many games to choose from and I like being able to try a game to see if I like it. During the week, I like playing relaxing games such as Animal Crossing or visual novel games like Coffee Talk. I don’t want to have to concentrate on something as work at times leaves me feeling drained. One game I decided to try was Donut Country.

Donut Country is a puzzle physics game in which players play as a sinkhole that will suck up various buildings, animals, and people in this town. The story follows Mira who along with her raccoon friend, BK, works at the local donut shop. BK started doing donut deliveries in order to save for a remote-controlled helicopter. Mira learns that instead of donut deliveries, sinkholes have been dispatched and sinking various residents. BK realizes that something is amiss as he doesn’t want to sink the town, he only wants his helicopter. How will Mira and BK revert the town to the way it was before the sinkholes?

The gameplay in Donut Country is where the game thrives. I had a lot of fun maneuvering this sinkhole around. Since some of the objects are larger in size, the sinkhole has to be appropriately placed to complete a level and capture the objects. Some levels have a puzzle component where certain levers have to be pulled and objects are catapulted out of the sinkhole to complete the level. I liked the puzzle aspect of the game as I think it added a layer of complexity to the levels. Besides the puzzle aspect, I liked the graphics. They were cute, colorful, and had their own memorable art style. It’s clear the town takes inspiration from LA. The boss level is similar to the Griffith observatory which I have been to before! I thought it was a nice touch to see where the game draws its inspiration from.

The only downside I can think of to the game is the story. The story at times felt a bit convoluted. I’m still not sure where the sinkholes came from. It’s revealed who summons the sinkholes, but I’m not following how they randomly popped up. I think that the point of the game is to be unrealistic, so I think it’s worth suspending some disbelief while playing Donut Country.

Donut Country was an entertaining and relaxing game to play. I probably wouldn’t have played this game had it not been on Xbox Game Pass. Donut Country is available on Xbox Game Pass.

Southern Charm – Charleston and Savannah

In the last post of my Virginia/Carolinas road trip, I’m going to focus on Charleston, South Carolina, and Savannah, Georgia. Charleston was our main destination and where we spent the majority of our trip. Savannah was our last stop since Savannah is only a two-hour drive from Charleston. This part of the US is stunning. Both cities are the perfect balance featuring Southern charm that’s rich with history.

Downtown Charleston – an beautiful park area.

Our first day in Charleston was walking around downtown. Charleston has so many parks. Each park seems to have a historic statue and the hanging moss trees often seen in the South. I could have easily brought my book and read for hours in a park. One of the tourist areas called the Battery is a sea wall that lines the coast. Without the Battery, Charleston would be underwater as the city is below sea level. Strolling along the Battery is the best way to see all the architecture. The houses are colorful and historically restored. My favorite part about Charleston was staying downtown, walking the parks, and eating a lot of great food.

The Battery.

Charleston is a historic city in the US. One of the historical sites me and my husband toured was Fort Sumter. Fort Sumter was attacked which led to the beginning of the Civil War in 1861. It was a thirty-minute ferry ride and we only had an hour on the Fort. It felt rushed as there was so much reading. I felt I had to skim a lot of it. There’s also Fort Moultrie which played a big part in the Revolutionary war. I’m all for going to a museum while on vacation and Charleston has plenty.

Fort Sumter

After spending three days in Charleston, we drove to Savannah. Savannah is a city right along the river. Savannah is a city that had the best shopping. There were several blocks of shops with red brick sidewalks and a Gazebo in the center. There was music playing, restaurants lined the sidewalks, and various tourist activities. The first thing I wanted to do was the Prohibition Museum. The Prohibition Museum is downtown and it’s one of the few museums in the US that’s solely devoted to Prohibition.

Display of a protest against alcohol “Bread not Beer” “Liquor is a Curse”

Part of the significance of the Prohibition Museum existing in Savannah was Savannah was one of the last Georgia cities that was heavily resisting Prohibition. The museum featured several displays, old articles, and a video on how to make Moonshine. Included in our museum tickets was a cocktail at the Speakeasy located inside. We felt so bad because there was a huge line with only one bartender. He was awesome and I was able to Venmo a tip. I had a Gin cocktail which was so strong! I didn’t mind because I like Gin. My husband had a Gin cocktail with champagne, so it tasted sweeter.

After the Prohibition museum, me and my husband stopped at a brewery along with visiting a comic book store called Nerdheim. I spent about $150 on comics and I have no shame. After comic book shopping, we strolled along the Savannah riverfront stopping for a beer or two. Finally, we ended our day by grabbing dinner before going to bed early to begin our drive back home.

This was an amazing road trip. Driving through the Virginias and the Carolinas was one of the most scenic road trips I have ever taken. Both me and my husband want to go back to visit Charleston, West Virginia, Asheville, North Carolina, and Savannah, Georgia as we felt we could have spent more time there. As far as future trips, I mentioned a potential Arizona Memorial Weekend trip, however, I decided against this. My husband wants to start house hunting soon, and I want to save for a trip to Seattle for Emerald City Comic Con in August.

Have you traveled anywhere recently? Let me know in the comments below.

My Road Trip Book Haul

My favorite souvenirs I buy on vacation are postcards and books. Postcards are inexpensive and I like to tape them into my travel journal. It reminds me of the trip and the places I visited. Besides postcards, I like to buy books. This could be at a local bookstore in the area or at a museum. During my road trip, I bought a few books, so I wanted to share what I bought.

The Mothman Prophecies by John A. Keel

The Mothman Prophecies is a non-fiction book in which author John Keel investigates strange sightings. In 1966 and 1967, there were apparent sightings of a winged creature nicknamed Mothman. Keel writes about various supernatural theories and phenomena as to what could have contributed to the sightings.

I knew Mothman existed, but I didn’t know much else. I’m looking forward to reading this as I think supernatural sightings are fascinating to me.

March Volume #1 by John Lewis

March by John Lewis is a graphic novel re-telling of U.S. Congressman John Lewis’s story of participating in the Civil Rights movement.

I’m happy to see more non-fiction graphic novels being published. It’s a great medium for those who aren’t big readers or are intimidated by longer books.

Last Call by Daniel O’Krent

Last Call is a non-fiction book detailing the Prohibition era in the US. Prohibition lasted from 1920-1933 before being repealed. Is it sad to say that I didn’t realize Prohibition lasted so long? My US history is a bit rusty, and I truly thought that it was only a year or two. Prohibition led to unintended consequences and reminds me of the 2000s “War on Drugs”

Clearly, my knowledge of Prohibition isn’t high, so I’m excited to learn more about this time in history.

I’m growing more fond of reading non-fiction. I’m not sure when I will get around to tackling my growing non-fiction TBR. I’m thinking that sometime this summer, I will start fitting these books into my reading schedule.

Doctor Who Fluxx

I haven’t played board games in such a long time! I used to play board games regularly whether it be with friends or with family. Thankfully, I was able to join a family board game night last weekend. As we discussed what we should play, it was decided to give Doctor Who Fluxx a shot. I have never played a Fluxx game before trying out Doctor Who Fluxx. Doctor Who Fluxx was so easy to learn and was incredibly quick to play.

The basis of Fluxx is the rules and the objective to win are included within the cards. To win a game, a player must meet the goal. There are different goal cards included in the deck that can be drawn and played. Besides goal cards, there are rule cards that will change the rules of that particular round. This can include increasing or decreasing maximum hand size, altering the number of cards drawn per turn, and changing the number of cards that can be played on one turn. There are keeper cards that are played in front of the table along with action cards which allow for shenanigans to occur.

Since this was Doctor Who Fluxx, the cards are emphasized with characters, themes, and language from Doctor Who. The keeper cards could be the various doctors or companions. My personal favorite was the Ponds as I ended up winning one round by having a Tardis and the Ponds as keepers on my board. There were creeper cards that were memorable Doctor Who antagonists such as Daleks, Cybermen, and the Weeping Angels. As I was playing through Doctor Who Fluxx, it reminded me that I’m due for a Doctor Who re-watch soon.

Doctor Who Fluxx is the perfect brewery, or picnic table game. It’s easy to teach someone else how to play, it’s quick, and it doesn’t take up a lot of room on a table. I’m tempted to order my copy to have on hand. Doctor Who Fluxx can be purchased at your local game store or anywhere where games are sold.

Sweet Caroline – Virginia + North Carolina

Last week, I talked about West Virginia and primarily focused on the Mothman statue. I’m still in awe of how beautiful West Virginia was. For my second recap post about our road trip, I’m going to focus on Virginia and Asheville, North Carolina.

Barter Theatre

Starting in Charleston, West Virginia, me and my husband began our drive the following day. When I reviewed our route, I found a small town in Virginia I wanted to stop in. Abingdon, Virginia is located in the Blue Ridge Mountains in Western Virginia. I looked at pictures online and it looked stunning. Abingdon was on the way to Asheville, North Carolina and I knew we needed to make a few stops along the way, so the drive didn’t feel long.

As we drove through Abingdon, there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. I needed my sunglasses because I couldn’t escape the sun. It was the best feeling. As we pulled into Abingdon, I was amazed. One of the highlights of Abingdon is the Barter Theatre. It’s a historic theatre that’s been historically preserved. There are classic plays along with various festivals happening throughout the year. Unfortunately, we didn’t have time to see a play, so we could only walk around and take pictures. There’s a small park right across the street from the theatre that we walked through. After stopping for lunch, we got back into the car to head to Asheville.

The picture doesn’t do North Carolina justice. It was beautiful and had lots of mountains and hills.

Asheville is on the Western half of North Carolina. Asheville is known for being in the mountains and for being an artsy town. As I was looking online at what we had time to do, I saw numerous art museums, galleries, and hiking trails. As we approached Asheville, it was busy! There were people walking everywhere. We thought that there was some event happening the day we stopped in Asheville. We ended up settling on an outdoor brewery where we had a pint and could enjoy the sun.

Asheville was another city we stopped in where we wouldn’t hesitate to come back. It’s one of the negative parts of a road trip where we weren’t able to spend as much time as we wanted in some of the cities we stopped in. On a positive note, I know that if I was able to make it back to Asheville, I know I would love it.

After Asheville, it was another few hours of drive time before we made it to Charleston, South Carolina. In next week’s post, I’m going to finish up my road trip blog posts with a detailed rundown of Charleston and Savannah, GA.

Razorblade Tears by S.A. Crosby

CW: violence against LGBTQIA+ folks, graphic violence, mistreatment of women

While on vacation, I make it a point to finish at least one book. I’m the type of person on vacation who I enjoy downtime. If a vacation feels jam-packed, I feel like I need a vacation from my vacation. The book I chose to read was Razorblade Tears by S.A. Crosby. I heard about Razorblade Tears as it was one of the books included in the Book of the Month book box. While I’m glad I read Razorblade Tears, I’m having a hard time giving this book a rating.

Ike Randolph and Buddy Lee Jenkins are grieving. Their sons, Isiah and Derek were brutally murdered. The police don’t seem to care or in Ike and Buddy Lee’s eyes, they aren’t doing enough. Ike and Buddy Lee want to redeem themselves since they didn’t accept Isiah and Derek’s relationship and marriage. Their quest leads to corruption and a big reveal of irony in the South.

Razorblade Tears is a tough book to read in part because Ike and Buddy Lee are homophobic and this book centers around their journey for revenge and acceptance. It’s difficult to see this through their eyes. While Ike and Buddy Lee are born and raised in the South, I find it difficult that they couldn’t look past their bias and accept their sons. I didn’t realize Ike and Buddy Lee would be as homophobic as this book points out, I went into this thinking that Ike and Buddy Lee had relationships with their sons when clearly that wasn’t the case.

Despite the emotionally heavy content of the book, I do think there are a lot of interesting conversations that occur. Buddy Lee is a poor white man who lives in a beat-up trailer. He often makes comments to Ike about how he wishes he could trade places with him. Ike is a working-class black man who points out to Buddy Lee that he is able to exist in the world differently because of the color of his skin. It’s a pull of race and class privilege and how this can impact relationships or political opinions.

Per the content warning, there is a lot of graphic violence. As mentioned, this book is centered around Isiah and Derek’s deaths. In my opinion, I think the author went into WAY too much detail about their deaths. I don’t see why that was needed. Women are also mistreated by several male characters.

This was an emotionally heavy book to read. I would heed the content warnings as this book is tough to get through. I’m going to leave this book unrated which is a first for me. I’m glad I took the time to read this and I feel for all the people who don’t have family who accepts them for who they are.

Spotted Mothman! – West Virginia

Me and my husband got back from our road trip yesterday. It was such a fun and much-needed vacation. Similar to my other vacation posts, I’m splitting this up into three entries: West Virginia, Virginia + North Carolina, and South Carolina + Savannah, GA. This way I don’t end up writing one huge long post. In this first post, I’m going to write about West Virginia and seeing Mothman.

We began our trip from Madison, Wisconsin as my husband’s twin brother lives there. It was a 9-hour drive from Madison to Charleston West Virginia. For the most part, driving through Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio is flat and boring. Once we reached the Wayne National Forest at the Southeastern part of Ohio, it turned into a beautiful drive. The trees were so green and there were hills that we ended up driving through.

Throughout our drive through the Wayne National Forest, I saw a sign for the Mothman statue in West Virginia. One of my favorite parts about driving is seeing these quirky tourist things along the way. I knew we had to stop in West Virginia to take a selfie with Mothman. From what I know, Mothman is an urban legend stemming from sightings and events from the 1960s in West Virginia. I bought a non-fiction book about this at a bookstore to learn more. As we arrived, we were too late to go through the Mothman museum, so we took a picture by the statue instead.

After another hour of driving, we reached Charleston, West Virginia. Charleston is the capital of West Virginia and both me and my husband were surprised at how small the city was especially since it’s the capital. Charleston was surrounded by the river and rock formations on either side. I thought West Virginia was more of a “fly over” state although I was blown away by how beautiful it was to visit.

After settling into our hotel, we drove to 1010 Bridge for dinner. It was located on a hill overlooking Charleston. This came from a recommendation from a coworker to eat here. It was easily one of the best restaurants we went to throughout our whole trip. Me and my husband both ordered the Beef Tip Bolognese. It was tasty! Me and my husband joked we would visit Charleston solely to go back to 1010 Bridge.

West Virginia was such a surprise! I wasn’t expecting much, and I was surprised at how pretty Charleston and West Virginia was. Charleston specifically is on a list of cities me and my husband would love to come back to.

Vigilante & Birds of Prey – Vintage Comics Review

At my local comic book store, I have started perusing through the white long boxes where older comics are kept. The issues can vary from comic runs from last year or ten years ago. I wanted to poke around and see if I could find anything interesting. As it turns out, I did find a few issues that were worth purchasing. I wanted to share what I found.

Vigilante #1 – 2009 Marv Wolfman, Rick Leonardi, and John Stanisci

I became a fan of Vigilante partly due to the Peacemaker TV series. In the show, Vigilante is played by Freddie Stroma, and he portrays Vigilante as being a psychopath with an extremely dark sense of humor. In the comic, Vigilante gives off a Red Hood (aka. Jason Todd/2nd Robin) vibe to me. Vigilante is investigating a few murders with mob connections and ends up being purposefully captured by police, so he can brutally interview prisoners. This was an entertaining issue, unfortunately, I wasn’t able to find the complete series, so it serves as more of a collectible than a story.

Birds of Prey Manhunt #1 – #4 – 1996 Chuck Dixon, Matt Haley, and Wade Von Grawbadger

Birds of Prey is one of my favorite superhero teams. Led by Oracle (Barbara Gordon, paralyzed by the Joker) she works with Black Canary as they challenge the crime syndicate. In this run, Huntress and Catwoman get involved much to Oracle’s chagrin. It’s interesting how comics have evolved since 1996. There were certain images of the female characters where I thought “a man definitely drew this.” An example is Black Canary and she’s standing in a really awkward position, but her hip is out, so it shows off her body at a better angle. This didn’t take away from the enjoyment of reading Birds of Prey, it made me laugh and realize how in some ways, comics have become more evolved. I’m happy that I found this complete series.

I have had good luck with searching through vintage issues that I plan on doing this every time I stop by my local comic book store. It’s relaxing to simply sift through comics and I never know what I’m going to find.

2022 – Traveling Plans

By the time this post goes live, I will be in Charleston, South Carolina with my husband. We planned a road trip through West Virginia, Virginia, the Carolinas, and a final stop to Savannah, GA before driving home. I haven’t done a road trip since Boston in 2018. Silly Covid-19 pandemic disrupting my plans. I’m a big fan of road trips as I think it’s a great way to travel. I wanted to share my potential traveling plans for the year.

March 2022 – Carolinas

The Appalachian Mountains in Georgia. Photo was taken in 2017

Me and my husband knew we wanted to do a road trip. There were several places we had in mind, but we ended up settling on the Carolinas. I have been to the Appalachian Mountains when I went on my road trip through Nashville in 2017, however, I have heard lovely things about the Carolinas. Someone I went to college with has a family cabin in North Carolina and she raves about the area. We will end up stopping in Charleston, South Carolina for the majority of our trip and I’m really looking forward to a beach day.

Memorial Day Weekend Trip – Arizona?

Phoenix Fan Fusion is happening Memorial Day weekend and I thought it would be fun to be able to attend. The only concern I have is whether I would be able to get up to the Grand Canyon and Sedona on the same trip. I’m more than likely to be flying into Phoenix which would mean either renting a car or figuring out if there’s a bus or a train I can take to get there and back. Another option I considered was Portland Oregon, Salt Lake City Utah, or Las Vegas. This way I can be in one city without having to travel long distances.

Emerald City Comic Con – August Seattle, Washington

Could this be the year I make it to Seattle? I was supposed to go to Seattle in March 2020 before the pandemic fully became apparent. I ended up re-scheduling which was the right choice to make. Emerald City Comic Con has been re-scheduled to August and I really want to go.

This is an ambitious year for traveling and I’m motivated to make it happen. With the pandemic stalling travel plans, I feel like I have a lot of traveling to catch up on. Let me know your travel plans in the comments down below.

Inspiration & Hellish Rebuke – Adventurer’s League Recap

The last time I played in Adventurer’s League was before the holidays. Zehiri, my Tiefling Paladin, almost died because I kept rolling so poorly. I played Adventurer’s League at Red 6 Games in St. Paul. I like the DM who leads the sessions, and I don’t get to go to St. Paul that often, so I find playing at Red 6 is a treat. I’m happy to say that Zehiri did so much better in this session and I didn’t die.

Our session took place in the village of Parnast. Our contact, Regnar said there were thefts and other petty crimes occurring in the town. Regnar accused a local carpenter, Gundolin Cartwright, as the suspected culprit as he has refused to build a watchtower to protect the town. Regnar offered our group 50 gold if we could apprehend the person who was responsible. As our group conversed with Gundolin, we interpreted that he was innocent and another individual named Tove was responsible. As our group followed Tove into the forest, a battle ensued with numerous orcs and an ogre coming to greet us.

In this session, I earned my first inspiration from the DM. Inspiration is when the DM feels there’s roleplaying or character development that’s worth a reward. Inspiration can allow for any character to re-roll a die. I received inspiration because Zehiri helped get the group together. Our group was a bit all over the place and I cast a cantrip called Thaumaturgy which allows for my voice to become a megaphone of sorts. I told the group to calm down and think for a second. The DM liked that I did that hence I got the point of inspiration.

Another cool moment for Zehiri was in the big battle. There was a female orc champion by the name of Korgath who was targeting me. I had Zehiri taunt her a bit into attacking me. She dealt 13 damage to Zehiri, but I was ready. As a reaction, I have Hellish Rebuke. Hellish Rebuke is a reaction spell meaning I can cast it even if it’s not on my turn if my character is targeted. As I cast Hellish Rebuke, I rolled 3 D10s of damage which was enough to kill her. Korgath attacked me, I taunted her and I used Hellish Rebuke to turn her to ash. How cool is that?

Along with the roleplaying session, one of the players brought his son. His son was between the ages of 6 – 8 as he was still learning math. He was playing a Rogue, so he would do sneak attack damage. As he rolled the dice, his dad was helping him add up all of his damage. It was the cutest thing. We all knew the answer, but we didn’t tell him until he could add it all up for himself. It goes to show that D&D can be educational as there’s a lot of math involved whether it be in combat situations or skill checks.

From this session, Zehiri is now level #4. I’m on the cusp of leaving the beginner’s session and moving into the more advanced session for levels #5 – #9. I’m thrilled that Zehiri was able to live throughout the whole session and I’m excited to fit another Adventurer’s League session into my schedule.