Uber Adventures

Image from Phys.org

I teased you a while back saying that I had some good Uber experiences to share with you. I apologize for keeping you waiting.

As I’ve mentioned previously, I am not the most driven of drivers (just assume that all of my puns are intended). I only give a few rides a month, usually on my lunch break when I don’t have anything else to do. Somehow, I still manage to have some very interesting individuals each time.

Perhaps if I drove more often, I would become numb to the weirdness. Maybe that’s reason enough to do it sparingly – the weirdness provides solid writing material.

We have had Uber in Springfield for over a year now, but many people are still new to the ride-hailing app. I’ve had a few first-time users and they always ask: “Should we tip you?” The answer I give is very humble and polite, but of course my preferred answer would be “40% is pretty standard” or something
like that.

Usually I am honest and tell them it is optional, but tips are not included in the base fare. Tipping is rare, but always appreciated.

Driving ladies in my Charger since the mid/late 2000’s

One ride that caught me off guard happened pretty early in my driving tenure. I picked up a young woman visiting from Florida at a sushi restaurant and she sat in the front seat. Usually the only individuals that go for the front seat or solo male riders, but that isn’t what caught me off guard.

“Can I use dat auxiliary cord?” I obliged and gave her full control of music duties. We bumped to some pretty heavy rap the whole way to her destination. Not the weirdest ride I suppose, but it was certainly unexpected.

It wasn’t nearly as stressful as driving a very pregnant lady to her job. Again, not the strangest ride, but I went through so many scenarios in my head that involved me delivering a baby in my backseat. Such are the fears of the Uber driver.

I realized another fear of an Uber driver when the app took me to wrong destination during another ride. I had picked up a couple of gentlemen at the mall, once they figured out how exit the building. One was Polish and the other was British – they were in town for a conference.

The app does not do a great job of telling you your destination, but I eventually deduced that we were headed for the airport. We talked on the way about European weather, currency differences, global communication for business, and the like. I was enjoying the conversation and just blindly following the route, even though I know how to get to the airport…

It took us to a locked gate at the very back of the airfield. It required a 10 minute detour to get back around the whole thing. Luckily they didn’t seem to be late, so it wasn’t a big deal, just a tad embarrassing. I stopped charging them of course once I realized the mistake. They still gave me the most
generous tip I’ve ever received. Long live the Queen.

Foreign individuals make up a decent demographic of the daytime riders. I took a fellow Uber driver from Chile to get a haircut. He thought I spoke Chilean because I said “gotcha”. Apparently “cotcha” essentially means “cool” in Chilean. I’m more worldly than I realized.

There is certainly local flavor as well, from known radio hosts to a pair of Springfield Cardinals headed for the pool, after Brown Derby of course. Only one spoke English. I assume they both made it to the big leagues since then.

I have a couple of my most interesting trips still in my back pocket. They are long, so they will likely require their own blog post each. Stay tuned, people. Check out some of the stuff below to see what I’ve been up to and why my posts have been more sporadic recently. I’m going to try and ramp it back up, so thanks for checking in and I hope you’ll be back!

The Basketball Movement

I have taken over the blog for The Basketball Movement

I’ve spoken about this previously, but you may have noticed that there have been less and less articles posted here. I am preparing to get this blog back on track and produce more original content.

Video game articles I write have been going towards Grown Gaming and Thunder articles I write have been going to Thunderous Intentions. These are both on a volunteer basis.

I am now writing basketball-related articles of all kinds for The Basketball Movement as the sole contributor to their blog. My services earn me a little compensation, so I am now a professional writer!

The Basketball Movement is based out of Nixa in what used to be known as Fox Hollow. They are striving to be the top basketball training service in this part of the country.

I write for them about their services, news from prep to pro, and motivational pieces for athletes or anyone striving to improve their craft.

I am excited about this opportunity and look forward to continued collaboration with The Movement.

As I mentioned, I am looking to ramp up this site again as well, so keep an eye out for new stuff. Thanks for your support! I love you.

Thunderous dunk contest

Photo from businessinsider.com

NBA All-Star weekend is near. The dunk contest is a personal favorite. The Oklahoma City Thunder are another personal favorite.

What if the Oklahoma City Thunder squad held a dunk contest just between themselves? Would Westbrook’s ferocity be too much for the other players to overcome? Paul George has some real dunk contest experience that could be beneficial.

I do my best to come up with how this contest would go in my latest feature for Thunderous Intentions. It is a strange narrative that I think you will enjoy! Just click… HERE.

The struggle of the adult gamer

Finding time for anything can seem like a chore when you’re adulting.

Work, relationships, social relevance in general – these are things that are very important and contribute to the lessening of hobby time. Plenty of people find time for their favorite TV shows, but what about movies? Reading? Video games??

Being a grown gamer can be tough, but it’s worth it to do what you love. I wrote my thoughts about it here: Check it out!

Quick blog update!

Wil, you seem to have really slowed down on you blog content. Are you giving up on your dreams? Fading into obscurity?

I appreciate your concern, dedicated fan. Fear not! I have certainly not given up on my dreams and am still making efforts to remain as far from obscurity as possible. Many of these efforts are just not seen here on my personal blog.

As I have mentioned previously, I have become a contributor for Thunderous Intentions and Grown Gaming. Since I was already only writing a few posts a week, a lot of my posts are now going through those avenues.

One of the primary goals of this blog is for me to establish varied writing samples. I am interested in both sports and entertainment writing, so it makes sense for me to put a lot of that style of content on the more trafficked and professional web pages. I appreciate you noticing me, but I would like for others to notice me as well!

I have been learning a lot about formatting and search engine optimization. I’m not necessarily going to make all of these posts super SEO friendly, because I still just want for this to be a place where I can jot down thoughts and write what I want and how I want.

There will still be a flow of content here, but for anything video game or Thunder related, you know where to go. I love you.

So This is Christmas

Christmas – it’s the most wonderful time of the year, so they say. By “they” I am mostly referring to my wife. We all know someone who takes holiday cheer very seriously. You may even be that person. I’m not here to knock that. In fact, I think that those are the people that make the Christmas season as great as it is.

December almost entirely revolves around Christmas (sorry, winter birthday folks). For many, this is the busiest time of the year. Work year-ends are needing to be closed out, everyone’s kid has a dreaded Christmas special at church or school (even though they usually wind up being adorable/hilarious), and you have to buy presents for what feels like everyone you know on a first-name basis. Though all that makes the season stressful, it is also a time for people to be thankful, generous, and cheerful. Those are good things. I like those things.

If you are like me, you accumulate presents for friends and family slowly. My wife and I do most shopping simultaneously, but the gifts I get for her or any others I’m responsible for, I buy one at a time for about a month leading up to Christmas. Some buy their Christmas gifts at Walgreens late on Christmas Eve. I have a coworker that I am fairly sure was done shopping by Halloween. The holidays aren’t all about the presents, but giving and getting makes for a pretty good time. Let’s not pretend the presents aren’t one of the most fun parts of Christmas.


I talk a big game about there being no Christmas trees in our house prior to Thanksgiving. I do have to be honest though that every year, our house really does look its best when we have our Christmas stuff up in all its glory. Well played, wife. The fake tree is nice and easy, but real trees are one of my favorite Christmas memories as a kid.

Like a lot of memories, I appreciate cutting down a tree with my Dad more now than I did at the time. Freezing my toes and taking turns dragging a tree across the field wasn’t the first thing I looked forward to at Christmas. However, bundling up and marching towards the woods with my Dad, our dog Oliver happily bounding ahead, and maybe even a cat or two joining us on our journey was a pretty darn good time. Pops did most of the cutting since all we had was a rusty handsaw. He wasn’t quite Clark Griswold, but it was a joyous occasion that brought a sense of accomplishment when we hoisted up the tree in the house.

Uncle Shae (always in shorts), me (not helping), and Dad (head in a tree)

Having Christmas Eve at my grandparent’s house and Christmas morning at my parents is a tradition that has never left my life. My wife’s family has been very accommodating in having Christmas brunch/lunch and allowing this ritual to continue. Even though I touted the fun of the presents, it really is family and loved ones that make this a special time of year.

I want to thank all of the Christmas fanatics out there for making this season go. The rest of us may roll our eyes at the Christmas music, tree decorating, and silly traditions, but we need all of that in our lives. The magic doesn’t have to stop when you aren’t a kid anymore. Use the opportunities that Christmas provides to let your family and friends know you love and appreciate them. Long live all of the goofy traditions and may all your Christmases be merry and illuminated! Or something.

Thunderous Intentions: The Intriguing Steven Adams

Photo from clutchpoints.com

I have recently become a contributor for thunderousintentions.com! It is a website dedicated to bringing just the news that Oklahoma City Thunder fans want to hear. There are breaking news stories, game previews, postgame analysis, and much more.

I wrote an opinion piece for them explaining that Steven Adams is not only their most interesting player, but possibly one of the most interesting players in the NBA. Read it here:

https://thunderousintentions.com/2017/12/10/steven-adams-most-interesting-man-on-okc-thunder/

Pokémon: Forever Fan

As children, you can let just about anything anything fly; toilet humor, streaking, you name it, it’s all fair game to kids. The real world eventually beats us down though and as adults, we learn to keep some things to ourselves. Most people have guilty pleasures, but some are worse than others. Sometimes you smoke? That’s gross! I suppose it’s your choice though. You have a foot fetish? Super weird! But everyone has their thing. You still think Pokemon are cool? Immature! You’re just like me though. Pocket monsters never stopped being entertaining, so I have chosen to just keep rolling with it.

Pokémon is definitely my guilty pleasure. It is a global phenomenon that made its rise while I was still in grade school. I bought a Pokédex book at a book fair and studied the original 151 monsters in that book like crazy. From there, I started collecting the cards and accumulating the handheld games, both new and old. Yes, I also put in my fair share of time into Pokémon Go on my phone when it was at its peak popularity. I never got too into the TV series, but Pokémon Silver on the Gameboy Color was one of my earliest video games and it hooked me. Apparently for life.


The adventure aspect of being a young trainer set out to explore the world with just one little Pokémon at your side was exciting and engrossing, especially to a kid. On the virtual adventure, your partner becomes stronger and evolves into a more fierce competitor all while adding new Pokémon to your team also. Balancing your team with different types (fire, water, electric, etc.) makes for a surprisingly deep strategy element. You could choose a diverse team, use the strongest, or just be sure to incorporate your favorites. The games are what continue to keep me invested in the Pokémon world. While the games do appeal to kids with brightly colored and worlds and creatures with a young protagonist, the strategy elements deepen with every new entry in the series. Of course, nostalgia is also a driving factor. The feels wouldn’t mean much without solid gameplay and a steady stream of new content, however.

Another big aspect of the Pokémon universe is the card game. I was wild for Pokémon cards in grade school. My friends and I never actually played the card game as it was meant to be played, we just loved them for the collection aspect. Kids from earlier generations collected stamps and rocks, so I guess I shouldn’t be too ashamed of this aspect. Hey, I had a healthy collection of baseball cards too. Anyway, I still have my collection stored at the house. I have looked into the worth of some of them, but it is tough to balance out the price of memories of a simple, ridiculously fun time in life. I still buy some a couple times a year just to relive the sensation of ripping open a new pack and seeing how lucky you were in what you drew.

gallery-1468964850-maxresdefault-2.jpg (768×563)

Photo from digitalspy.com

Recently, Pokémon was all the rage because it finally came to mobile devices in the form of Pokémon Go. The game originally only included those original 151 monsters that I grew up with (there are over 800 now), which appealed to older fans, which I thought was pretty cool. The game makes you move around in real life, using your phone to track down those familiar little blasts from the past, collecting them all over again.

The staying power demonstrated by Pokémon is crazy. To be this big for this long not only shows how dedicated old fans like myself are, but also its ability to bring in new customers year after year. The games are a blast to play, so I don’t anticipate stopping anytime soon. I have not missed a major installment on the Gameboy Color, Game Boy Advance, Nintendo DS, or Nintendo 3DS. The series appears to have wrapped up its time on the 3DS, now looking towards the Switch. If anything can convince me to take the plunge on a new console, it’s this series. That’s a conversation with the wife for another day though. Pokémon is not going anywhere and I hope that more (formerly) closeted fans like me get to unabashedly enjoy them for years and years to come.

A Case for Xbox

Photo from Xbox.com

I’ve had Nintendo consoles, PC games, PlayStations, handheld consoles, mobile games, and of course, each generation of Xbox (aside from the new Xbox One X iteration – donations will be accepted via cash or PayPal). I’ve had some many of my best gaming experiences on Xbox and most of my gaming friends have one.

The console has taken a lot of heat recently for not having many console-exclusive titles to steer people away from PlayStation. I believe that the Xbox still holds down an important space in the gaming world and then some. Read my thoughts in my opinion piece for GrownGaming.com at http://www.growngaming.com/feature/in-support-of-xbox/

Hunting Season

I was hoping to have a really cool picture to post with this of me proudly holding a buck three times my size, but alas, the above picture is from last year. That was my first deer, though I have been hunting for four years or so. Deer season is still in full swing, though opening weekend came and went without me pulling the trigger. I may not be done yet – I’ll have time to go out again during the coming weekend, but opening weekend certainly seems like the ideal time to drop a deer. Even so, good times were had and I am already looking forward to next year – in the stand or otherwise.

Like I’ve done the last several years, I took a half-day of work last Friday to gather my things and make sure I was stocked up on everything for deer camp. My wife had been preparing for a week long work trip, so I was trying to take the planning and inventory into my own hands. Despite my misplaced confidence, I did a predictably terrible job. I married a planner, something that I did not do by mistake. On my own, I forgot a pillow and blanket, boots, ibuprofen (a morning necessity), long underwear top, orange hat, and Hot Hands hand warmers. I did manage to bring women’s gloves, beer, snacks, and almost enough warm clothes. I even stopped to get someone else’ forgotten boots. I am an imbecile. I borrowed some goods from my father in law and my busy wife even made a special trip down with stuff before she left. They were both very impressed with my beer-remembering skills.

I hunt with the fellas on my wife’s side of the family. We have a “cabin” planted on some farm land owned by her brother-in-law. Despite it’s shed-like appearance, we’ve whipped it into shape over the last few years with a wood-burning stove, bunks, an outhouse, and now a porch. It is a lovely little place where the Busch Light flows like a river and signal is just good enough to get the occasional text from my wife reminding me about the highlights of basic gun safety. Each night we heat up deer chili or something similar, throw back some brews, and play cards. This year was only my second time playing poker, so I was very happy to have only lost $15 on the weekend. I’m sure I would have won if I wore sunglasses like the pros on TV. Even if I had thought of that, I probably would’ve forgotten the shades at home anyway.

Perfect for six grown men (pre-porch)

We all stay in the cabin at night and then fan out early in the morning. Some stay in tree stands right around the cabin while others have to do a little traveling. I had to drive about 20 minutes to my stand set up out behind my grandpa’s house. I was pretty pumped to get to hunt on my family’s land this year. As I mentioned earlier, opening morning seems like the perfect time to shoot a deer. There is a sense of excitement and adrenaline, though I haven’t had any luck on that morning so far. Plus, I was underdressed and had a self-induced headache this year, so it seemed a little less magical. I went out a few more times over the weekend, seeing an undersized six-point buck, 17 doe, two owls, and some field mice. I had a good shot on the buck, but was more interested in an impressive rack than just more meat for the freezer.


Hunting is fun. Being outdoors and having to stay alert with your head on a swivel for something to shoot is a pretty awesome departure from daily routines. If you shoot something though, you have to cut it’s guts out, which isn’t my favorite thing. What is my favorite thing is the comradery, cards, and memories made with good people. I’m not going to trade in my Xbox for a new tree stand any time soon, but no matter what happens this weekend I’ll be out there again next year and the one after that.