What’s Making Me Happy This Week I

One of my favorite podcasts is NPR’s Pop Culture Happy Hour. It’s one I make it a point to listen to as soon as it gets posted on Friday mornings. Every week they end the show with the segment “What’s Making Us Happy This Week.” Sometimes it’s big stuff; other times it’s small silly stuff. So I’m taking a page out of their book and taking a moment to reflect on what’s making me happy this week.

Ingress

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A friend of mine (the same friend who introduced me to Zombies, Run! actually) introduced me to this game last weekend, and I’m hooked. My ex was a super gamer and got me into it (I played a lot of World of Warcraft back in the day.), but Nik isn’t much of a video game player so I don’t play many video games anymore. (We do play a lot of table top games – see the next thing making me happy.) Ingress is filling a void in my gamer soul.

This is an app based game put out by Google. The story is that scientist at CERN have discovered a substance called Exotic Matter (called XM) leaking into the universe through various portals. XM is dais to have mind control properties. There are two factions the Enlightened, who want to use XM to improve humanity, and the Resistance, who feel XM should not be used to control people.

The goal of the game is to gain control of these portals and create networks by linking portals together. Along the way you level your character so you can use stronger weapons and equipment.  Essentially, it’s a giant game of virtual capture the flag. In order to capture and link portals you must be in range of the portal which means this game requires you to do some walking. (You can drive from place to place as well, but exercise!)

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There’s also a very social element to the game. Often times you need other people to help you take down an enemy portal. And you are limited on the amount of high level gear a single person can use to capture a portal so to make a really strong portal, you need multiple people. There’s a variety of Google+ communities created around this game to help people organize and meet up. Chicago has an extremely well organized and active Enlightened faction. Oh and if you do play in Chicago, I’m Runninginchucks.

Our growing tabletop game collection
One of the benefits of already having a lot of house stuff is we got to add a bunch of fun stuff to our wedding registry. We registered for a bunch of tabletop games and several of then were gifted to us! We now own Settlers of Catan, Ticket to Ride, Bezzerwizzer, the Cards Against Humanity expansions, Dixit, and Fluxx. Now we just need to host a game night!

And because these can’t all be game related…

PUMPKIN SEASON!

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I have always been a fan of pumpkin/pumpkin spice/ pumpkin pie. I loved for Thanksgiving because it was the one time of the year I got pumpkin pie. Now I do think the pumpkin spice trend has gotten a little ridiculous, but the vast array of pumpkiny treats still makes me smile.

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