TL;DR: I might have a girlfriend, and a childhood retail chain is closing.
Things have been consistantly going up since I was last really online, my mental health is finally under control *knock on wood*, and my confidence has gone from a spark to a pretty good fire. On Saturday December 16th I went to an ice skating party with people from my church congregation and had tons of fun. That's where I finally asked someone out for the first time in ages. I had interacted with this young lady at a lake activity over the summer, but figured she was way out of my league. The Monday before the skating though, I started to get to know her better. We talked about my Game Design class, and some of the art I was struggling with for the Design Document. Earlier we'd partnered up on a 'Minute-to-win-it' relay challenge where we had to wrap then unwrap a present with one hand each. That ended spectacularly with us running into the table as we slipped on the hardwood floor and sent the table flying WHILE still managing to unwrap the present together! I literally couldn't get the feeling of needing to ask her on a date out of my head for the rest of the week. Finally, after the skating and the KC BBQ dinner, I got up the nerve to ask her on a date. She agreed and we exchanged numbers before she left. That date didn't happen until February 8th, due to the Holidays and a brief illness.
The date went great, we went to the local mall and walked around while getting to know one another more. We both had a bunch of fun, between wandering around the various geeky stores, and eating pizza over a small food court table, ending at Build a Bear with two Pokémon plush. A few days later I asked her on a second date, only the third I've ever been on, with the first two only partially counting because of High School relationships forming before the actual dates. She once again agreed, and we went on March 3rd. That was the best date I've ever been on. We ate dinner at a local Sonic drive-in before heading to a nearby park to sit and talk and enjoy some good weather. I really, really like her, if you can't tell. We're already going on a third date on Saturday. A dance in conjunction with the nearby Anime convention.
On the Lego front, things have been really quiet. I don't want to say that I'm in a dark age, since I am still building some of my old sets every so often, but there really hasn't been anything from the current lines outside of the Archetecture sets that I've been truly excited about.
Yesterday had some sad news with not just Stephen Hawking's death, but also one of the worst blows to my inner child. Toys R Us is one of the biggest chunks of my childhood memories, of which I have too few of. I just watched a video from one of my favorite You-Tubers, Retail Archeology, visiting one of the already closing Phoenix, AZ stores. The TRU at Superstition Springs Mall in Mesa, AZ is literally my childhood store. I was going there long before the current layout was done, when they had a large books section in the back corner where the baby stuff ended up. I remember going down the video game aisle when the Sega Genesis and CD were in their heyday, and then visiting when I was older and playing the demo for Sonic Adventure 2 on the Gamecube display. Most of my family's new Genesis games were from that particular store, as were several of our N64 games.
The LEGO memories are just as old. I still have my Bionicle posters that they gave away in fall 2001. I have my TRU exclusive summer 2002 comic book, purchased at the Paradise Valley store while my mom was at a conference in downtown Phoenix.
Their demise is one of the most heartbreaking things to happen in my life. I dreamed of taking my future kids there to get Lego sets and video games, to buy their first bicycles like I had, to enjoy being a kid without resorting to Walmarts or Targets for toys and tablets for games. Alas, all good things...
Anyway, thanks for reading.