Animal Crossing, Camping, and The Bear — Oh My

Here’s what. I’ve been obsessed with Animal Crossing: A New Leaf. So obsessed that I did the final project in my Web Usability summer class (A+) on how to improve player interaction with Blathers. It’s very annoying how he goes on and on and on… Let’s just say he is aptly named. All I want to do is donate a fossil, okay. TAKE MY FOSSIL, PLEASE!

Anyway, everyone in my town is saying I’m a fashionista because I change my outfit every day that I play, and I just dyed my hair white and got it cut like Anna Wintour’s.

Last weekend I went camping, for the second time ever. I felt a little bit like Miss Piggy. Y’know how she’s always dressed to impress and gets huff-and-puffy when she isn’t reclining on a divan in a lovely dress eating bonbons? Well, I guess I WISHED I felt more like Miss Piggy, because I was wearing some frumpy cutoff jeans and the only huffing-and-puffing I did was up a “moderate” slope that didn’t stop going uphill for about 40 minutes. There were s’mores though, and that’s kind of like bonbons, so okay.

I sound like I’m complaining, and I did think I actually might die of a burst-open lung on the hike, but the shower afterward felt like heaven at a quarter a minute, and it was really fun being with friends for the weekend in the great outdoors. So it was worth the suffering.

Anyway, it occurred to me that camping is sort of like Animal Crossing. There was a bluejay who kept screaming for his friends to come join him in stealing our trail mix. There were some grumpy squirrels who kept throwing acorn shells at our heads. And every single neighboring tent BYO’ed their dog. These IRL animals didn’t have the same level of manners that my Animal Crossing neighbors have, but it was still nice to wake up to their twittering, and to have them chuffing around the campsite while we cooked potatoes and drank a billion cups of good coffee from Four Barrel.

Speaking of twitter, it was kind of nice not to have any cellular service. Except when that 6.0 earthquake hit and we didn’t know if it was the apocalypse or what, so we just went back to sleep after confirming everyone was okay and not crushed by a falling rock.

The other thing I did was, I brought a book with me, because I never go anywhere without a book to read: just in case. The Bear by Claire Cameron begins with the brutal mauling death of a mother and father by a bear, leaving their infant son Stick and barely verbal, pre-school daughter Anna to make their way to safety off the island campsite, solo. Not such a great book to bring on a camping trip. I mean, there’s a photo of a bear caught on film by motion-triggered cameras in the visitor center of the state park we were camping in. Still, I read it all, and it’s a good book, written wholly in the daughter’s voice in a compelling stream of consciousness style. Anna doesn’t know what has happened or what’s going on, but the reader does, and that builds the appropriate level of tension to sustain the story as the kids bumble through the forest and encounter dangers they can’t fully comprehend. I give it many stars.

Speaking of stars. We went to a star party, which is even more awesome than it sounds. But I’ll leave that for another post, since it’s not animal-related.

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