Sunday, October 18, 2015

It's Over

Hey y'all.  So I've enjoyed writing these blogs.  Too much, in fact.  I keep track of what I write, and my blog wordcount overwhelms the rest.  And it's the least important of my work.  There's so much out there in the world I want to do, including find a new job, learn a new language, and write things that are publishable.  This blog, quite frankly, is more of a self-serving place to vent my observations on things.  While I'm proud of some of the things here, most of it is just kind of there, at best ideas unpolished and not entirely coherent.

It's been a fun exercise, and has stretched me in ways I needed to be stretched.  However, the passion for it is gone, weighed down as I am with real world concerns.  I need to be able to express myself as either a way to gain in life or as a way to communicate with others, not simply put my own opinions out there into the void.  While having a popular blog would have been fun, I never had a consistent enough series of work on this site for people to have anything to expect -- again, it's all been pretty self-indulgent.

In any case, I'm stopping the blog now, with no plans to bring it back. It's just another thing on my plate causing me stress, and I need to simplify.  No nagging inner thoughts about keeping it up.  I like writing here a lot, but it's profitless for a variety of reasons.  Will I write more again later?  Perhaps.  Not sooner than a year, and no guarantees after that.  I don't want this to be a rant-fest, if it does.  I want to have consistent, good content, that's both clear and regularly posted.  Something I have neither the time nor inspiration for at this point.  That, and I'd probably want to put it on a different site. 

So, farewell.  I'm leaving things up, so browse through it, if you like. 

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Nitpickery: MirrorMask

Hey y'all.  So I watched Mirrormask.  It was part of a three-pack including The Dark Crystal and Labyrinth, and my friend insisted that I see it.  We were having a discussion about old, classic fantasies, and so Mirrormask.

How is the movie, you ask?  It's a 5 out of ten, average.  It's the most 5 of any 5 I've ever seen.  That is, it's a combination of very good things and very weak things that all balance out in the end.  I do like it, because there's a level of thought in the film that a lot of modern films don't have.  The filmmakers obvious care, and if they care, I care.  All the same, there are several weaknesses in the film that could use work.  It's rather like an old, fancy house.  It's lovely, but we still have to break out the power tools before we can sell the place.

Nitpickery is spoilers. 

Friday, October 2, 2015

Write Club: Things you Don't do When Commenting on a Review

Hey y'all.  So I just watched Mirrormask (review upcoming) and now I'm going through comments of the movie on IMDB.  I have to say, I'm pretty ashamed of the movie's supporters.  They're heaping insult upon insult on anyone who says anything negative about the movie.  They act as though anyone who doesn't like it is an idiot.  One supporter even blindly states that critics "lose their senses" over it.  That's really unfair.  It's one thing to defend a movie you love, but it's quite another to insult someone on a personal level just because they don't share that love.

Holy crap, look at this gem --

"It's a charming movie, and if it upsets you enough that you feel the need to post a negative opinion where others can see it: Seek help."
- Wavelength121

I'm sorry, but critiques don't always come from emotional places.  People naturally feel the need to talk through stuff they see, and a negative reaction to a movie isn't a sign of mental disorder.  Quite in fact, reacting so strongly to a logical critique is a greater sign of emotional weakness.  Not that either position requires psychiatric therapy.

I've seen this in other places as well.  In Amazon's reviews of the movie Clue, commenters got ridiculous on anyone who disliked it.  Not to mention how people react when someone makes a negative comment on youtube about a song.  "If you don't like this band, then why are you listening to this?"  Because they have to hear a song to know if they like it or not, obviously.  Or are only positive comments allowed in this oversensitive world of ours?

So let's go over some rules of etiquette about respecting others and their opinions.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Me and Aldaris Season 2 (p1): Welcome Back

I yawned, stretching out over my bed with a smile.  It's kind of annoying to do that, considering that my bed is kinda small, so every time I stretch when I'm not on the exact top of the bed means my feet get to stretch over the side and allow cold air into my sleepytime cuccoon.  But whatever, that's my one complaint.  It was the first day after my graduation: associates in accounting.  Huzzah!  No class to go to or test to make up!  Now I only have to study my korean, write a bunch of stories that I can get published, and study my textbooks so that I don't forget anything important.  And get a job that doesn't entail shelving books, food service, or customer interaction in general.  Bring on an office in the back and tedious paperwork!  Hooray!

But today, the happiness of sleeping in.  Or it would be, if my body didn't force me up at nine in the morning.  That's sleeping in for some people.  For the time being, I just got out of bed and put some real clothes on.  Y'know, I really need to sleep in my clothes until I know for sure Aldaris' teleporter is fixed.  I ran downstairs to the kitchen for to caffeinate that thought out of my brain.  That works, right?

"I need more Infected Mushroom in my life." I said out loud as I loaded the coffee maker, even though I live alone.  "Computer, summon the internet and make it so."

Because my computer is not from the twenty-third century, it does no such thing.  So I typed up some videos and got them playing.  I really need to get Infected Mushroom's cds.  Even though I can listen to them on the internet, I'd much rather just own the discs.  It's kind of annoying to depend on the internet to listen to what I want.  That, and I want to support my favorite band.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Write Club: How Not to Write with Dr. McNinja

Hey y'all.  So the webcomic Dr. McNinja is coming to a close.  It's a fun webcomic, if randomness is what you're after.  Y'know, what with a doctor who is also a ninja, and all the silliness that Chris Hastings decides he wants to jam in there.

However, as much as people like it, it's kind of...well, not great.  Several things about it get on my nerves.  Given that I'm not a fifteen year old male, that's to be expected.  But when I was younger, I did in fact share many likes with that particular demographic, which is how I got started with it, when it was...oh, about the beginning of issue three.  I really liked it at the time, but at the end of issue three is when Gordito was introduced.  I somehow got the feeling that something had gone wrong in the comics, and that Gordito's entrance would somehow damper the comic.  I was half right.  Something did change, but it wasn't his fault.  Interestingly enough, Hastings mentioned in an interview that issue three was in fact a turning point for both himself and the comic.

This isn't going to be a proper review, for the record.  There are many reasons why a review of it isn't entirely appropriate.  For one thing, Dr. McNinja appears to be something Chris Hastings created more for fun than anything else.  It comes across as more stream of consciousness than straightforward, and serves as a way for Hastings to develop his comicking/storytelling abilities.  This tends to be the case with many webcomics. The long stretches a webcomic lasts mean that they can't always think of everything as a narrative the same way a novel writer would.  Everyone needs practice, so what better way for a comic guy to practice than to make a webcomic?

There's many positive aspects of the comic.  It's funny, and has good ideas on how to parody life as it is.  If you're a guy who enjoys stupid humor, I highly recommend you take a look at it.  Note that I don't mean "stupid" as an insult.  "Stupid humor" is pretty much its own genre by now, is all. Y'know, the kind of humor that makes people laugh at how dumb it is.

However, I've always wanted to get off my chest why exactly this comic gets on my nerves at times.  As a result, the things I write here will make the comic seem more negative than it really is.  Bear in mind that despite these errors, the comic is not the worst thing ever, or horrible in general.  It's fun for what it is.  This will just be a post addressing the writing errors present within the story that any writer worth their salt should be aware of.  Flaws in storytelling transcend their particular mediums, in most cases.

Alright, so quick story summary.  Dr. McNinja is an Irish American ninja who abandoned his family's more ninja occupations so that he could become a doctor.  After teaming up with tween Gordito, nephew of the Mexican raptor bandits, he goes after such enemies as ninja-killer Frans Rayner and ruler of all things cool King Radical.  Together they face time travel, evil dinosaurs, a weatherman, giant robots, and all manner of random whatnots.

This post will probably be easier to understand if you've already read the webcomic.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Nitpickery: Converting Vegetarians II

Hey y'all.  So Converting Vegetarians II is out digitally, and the audio cd will be out in October.  The songs, however, are all out on Soundcloud now.  I don't know if that's the best business decision, but what do I know about the music industry?

It's been weeks since I started my Daft Punk vs. Infected Mushroom review.  I've been listening to IM near nonstop since then, with a break for three different versions of Los Peces en el Rio when the mood struck.  But it's been a crap ton of Infected Mushroom, particularly a number of their non-album songs.  Holy crap, these guys do a lot of work.  Apparently Duvdev and Erez have their solo careers as well.  I don't know how they get it all done.

In any case, the point is that my experience with the band has changed.  I still love them and everything, but my inner cynic is rising to the surface.  As it does.  After repeated listening, I'm starting to see what the critics of Infected Mushroom are saying.  Granted, I never did fully disagree with them.  Over time, Infected Mushroom has become a little more open to people not of the electronic genres.  My defense was that this was IM's choice because of what they as musicians like, not because of executives, and that they stuff they make, whether mainstream or not, is generally good.

Also, some of the protest against IM's apparent usage of more mainstream sounds is because some people want their musicians to be like their secret club: only the hardcore allowed.  I sympathize with this opinion only to the degree that I don't want IM to just do club music.  Club music, particularly these days, is generally shallow.  It only requires a danceable beat.

All the same, complexity is very important.  These guys need to remember to be complex, because their complexity has generally been their major draw.  Particularly if they're going to do a throwback album.  I was very excited for Converting Vegetarians II, especially since I discovered the guys at the right time to get into their stuff and learn to appreciate them for who they are in time to anticipate it.  Now that I can listen to it, let's assess how well it did.  I'll be judging its songs based on two criteria: how much I want to listen to them, and how much they reflect the Converting Vegetarians spirit, as established by the first album of that name.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Top Ten Songs and a Review Conclusion

Hey y'all.  So what better way to end a series of music reviews than with a top ten list? Two, in fact?  So these are my top ten songs for Infected Mushroom and Daft Punk.  That is, the top ten I like to listen to.  While I normally like to be objective, this is music, and to call something a top ten song of a band, well, you've got to have pretty clear standards for why those particular songs are the best.  Here, these are just my personal favorites.

Let's start with Daft Punk.  I like a fair number of their songs, and Musique is good to play when I'm baking.  It keeps me going.  The only downside is that Daft Punk's best songs tend to be the more popular ones, making searches for hidden gems a difficult task.

Friday, September 4, 2015

Nitpickery: Discovery and the Musique Mixes

Hey y'all.  So I've been really hard on Daft Punk, but there's a reason why they got so popular.  Usually it's due to their singles rather than their full albums, but with Discovery they struck gold.  Not only do the songs feel like they're really an album, but the fun and funky sounds chosen to create the album are appealing and emotional.  It's surprising they went a more warm route after their edgy, avant guarde Homework, but hey, I'm just grateful they did. 

Thence came Discovery, the album that launched Daft Punk into the semi-approval of the mainstream, as well as attracting attention from the anime crowd for its conversion into the anime Interstella 5555.  It deserves its accolades, overall being a solid album that anyone can enjoy.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Homework Vs. Human After All

Hey y'all.  So I've decided to really sit and listen to early Daft Punk.  Because I've always been sort of stuck on the Discovery period, I haven't really given much of a listen to their first and third albums, Homework and Human After All.  Post listen, it's pretty clear that Discovery eclipses them both. While Discovery had not a single bad track (though I admit I'm not that fond of Digital Love), these other albums by Daft Punk are shockingly weak.  Only a few of the songs were really listenable, and I feel lucky that in my early electronic days, I bought Musique instead of either of those.

But people like Homework.  It's "important" to them, as a part of the history of electronic music. Even when people acknowledge its weaknesses, they seem compelled to talk about its importance in the grand scheme of things.  As for Human After All, people complain about it, saying it's the worst album Daft Punk has ever done.

Allow me to speak the controversial, but true.  Homework is only marginally better than Human After All.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Quickrant: Is Picard a Weenie?

Hey y'all.  So people have made the accusation that Captain Picard of Star Trek the Next Generation is a weenie, a wimp, and just nowhere near as brave as Captain Kirk.  At first, I wasn't entirely certain what they meant by it, but then I started watching some Trek to figure out if the accusation has any merit.

My conclusion:

Picard is a weenie... terms of women.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Nitpickery: Random Access Memories

Hey y'all.  So I went on and on about how Daft Punk compares to Infected Mushroom, and my overall conclusion is that Infected Mushroom has aged well, and Daft Punk hasn't aged so much as completely changed gears.  To be fair, some of that is due to the popularity of Daft Punk and subsequent fan expectation.  More of it has to do with Daft Punk's general sound; because of IM's classical background, they can do any type of sound and make it their own.  Because Daft Punk is a sampling band, they have less flexibility in the types of sounds and influences they have.

As far as my own background with Daft Punk is, I wasn't a pure fan of theirs back in their heyday. Sure, I liked some of their songs, but I was focused on other things rather than them.  At one point I did buy a compilation album of theirs, and that was when I really started to like them -- now I own Discovery and Interstella 5555.  In other words, I was kinda late to the Daft Punk party.  All the same I did learn to understand why they were such an electronic powerhouse.  Their intelligent use of sampling was highly catchy and invigorating.  At the same time, part of me is suspicious of their fame, wondering if their masks and popular early albums disguised a couple of guys who weren't ready for their explosion of popularity.

But at the moment I'm here to complain about Random Access Memories.  Because why not?

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Infected Mushroom Part 3: the Rock Period

Hey y'all.  So at this point, Infected Mushroom started to really hit those rock/metal elements hard. This was not a smooth transition with a two disc feature, but a sudden bang into a violent new sound that prevails to this day.  Some met it with great gnashing of teeth, while others came into the fold with the sweet sounds that are a little more palatable to the general public.  Emphasis on little.  My mainstream sister would still flee in panic as fast as she could from this.

(I once had a manager who said she'd throw my Paul Oakenfold cd out of the window if it were her daughter's.  If Oakenfold scares her, I'd better not say anything about Duvdev and Eisen...)

The thing about this is that there was a concern over losing a lot of the trippiness that made Infected Mushroom unique.  They have gone from the intelligent, thinker's psytrance to more of a thematically metal sound, even when the songs themselves weren't technically metal.  It feels like instead of infusing their songs with philosophical dwellings, they infuse them instead with raw, emotional power.  Which raw, emotional power works better depends on which album you're talking about.

Album #6: Vicious Delicious

Friday, August 7, 2015

Infected Mushroom Part 2: The Electric Driven Period

Hey y'all.  So I mentioned in my previous post that there are three stages to Infected Mushroom, and this stage, containing Converting Vegetarians and IM the Supervisor, is what I'm going to call the electric driven period.  It's where Infected Mushroom broke from their original psytrance sound and decided to try new things. That doesn't mean they broke free instantaneously.  Fan expectations are always going to be problems, no matter who you are and what you do.

This is something I call "the webcomic effect."  It happens in every art form, but is most obvious in web comics.  That is, the writer/artist is in a process of learning what they want to do with their comic, and after a while, they figure out exactly what the plan is, often resulting in a comic becoming very different.  The trouble is, this realization of what the author wants often comes at a cost at alienating the things that early fans liked.  To the author, the things they stopped doing are just dead ends.  To the fans, those are important details that were never addressed, or the ideas that drew them in, but aren't being continued.

It happens with music, too.  In most cases, it happens later in music than it does in other art forms. The musician, at first, can do whatever is on his heart.  Later on, however, he has to make money if he wants to continue.  Or he can just be bored of the same old and want to try new things.  The latter is more than likely the motivation for Infected Mushroom's biggest change: a turn away from pure psytrance.  It was a slow change, and probably reflects who Erez and Duvdev are as people.  Nobody can stay producing the same stuff all the time, and this feeling already shows by their album history at this point.

For this period, Infected Mushroom finally emerged from the over-serious, artsy-fart intellectual depths of psytrance and allowed themselves to try new things.  I call it "electric driven" because even while IM is emerging from pure psytrance, they were not yet bringing in the rock influence that characterizes the albums of the next period -- they were, to my ear, drawing from other electronic music genres.  There's dance, techno, and vocal house influence all over these albums.  It's as though IM wants to experiment, but they're being extra careful not to stray too far from their audience.

However, they really were breaking free of fan expectations, and better yet, they were doing it on purpose.  They weren't simply making music until the fans got sick of it, or until they changed into people that no longer felt emotionally connected to the sound they produced.  They were making purposeful strides to change their sound choices so that not only would their sound not grow stale, but so their albums could grow alongside the band and their fans would be used to their change.

Album #4: Converting Vegetarians

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Infected Mushroom Part 1: The Psytrance Period

Hey y'all.  So I've been listening to a lot of Infected Mushroom of late, and I wanted to talk about my assessment of the band.  They're an Israeli duo, Erez Eisen and Amit Duvdevani, dedicated primarily to psytrance, or so the internet tells me.  Actually, what I wanted to talk about is the sound of this band.  See, one thing that has been said about every long-lasting band or singer ever is that they were better in their early days, and that they've changed for the worse over time.  I myself have made such a statement once (concerning Daft Punk -- we'll test that too).

However, I believe in saying things that are objectively true, even if they don't appear like objective statements -- only if a baby is adorable do I actually say a baby's adorable.  Granted, I have a broad definition of "cute" and I always find something nice to say about babies, but at the same time, I will avoid saying anything if a baby too closely resembles Winston Churchill.

But because this is music and not a nursery, I'm going to say what I please, remaining as objective as I can in a subjective realm.  And what I want to do is test the statement "Infected Mushroom was better in its old days" to see if this is true or not.  Now, unlike a band like Daft Punk, Infected Mushroom has no consistent sound.  While they are clearly an electronic band, they've done trance, techno, emo, rock, and even a country-ish song.  Every single album they produce has a different feel from the others.  Thus, who can say that they have a consistent sound?  We know what to expect from Daft Punk (or we used to), so there is an objective basis to critique how they've changed over time. Not so much IM.

As far as I have observed, there are three general categories of Infected Mushroom music.  Their first three albums were their psytrance period, the next two their electro period, and the last three were the rock period.  Even within these categories their albums weren't the same.  Particularly in their earliest phase.  While they were all well within the bounds of psychedelic trance, each of the three albums represented three different ideas.  Let's talk about them, shall we?

Album #1: The Gathering --

Thursday, July 30, 2015


Hey guys.  So, as I was planning to continue my hiatus for a while.  However, things have changed.  I've been listening to a ton of Infected Mushroom lately for the purposes of a massive review series.  I'm just about finished with the series, and I was going to let it be a buffer for my return.  Thing is, Infected Mushroom is going to be releasing a new album, Converting Vegetarians 2.  It's supposed to come out in September.  What better way to lead up to the album's release than massive reviews?

So my reviews are based on the idea of what is mainstream, what is selling out, and Infected Mushroom versus Daft Punk.  I'll be going through the history of Infected Mushroom and Daft Punk, and how they've changed over time.  Keep in mind, though, that I didn't have the idea for this in mind right away.  It was my intention just to review Mushroom's history, and then it kinda grew from there. This was an educational experience, both in terms of the bands and of electronic music in general.  Starting this Saturday, I'll be posting once a week the results of my findings.  So join me on my trip through the electronic wonderland, and we'll find out how deep the rabbit hole goes.

....Pretty far, actually.  I'm still falling.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Me and Aldaris: Epilogue

Well, that was a thing.  So me and Aldaris have an understanding now, I think.  Because of things. Things I'll be able to put in writing some day.  In any case, Aldaris is calmer now.  He's gone from seeing us humans as annoyances to seeing us as people-like beings,  Maybe even slightly above animals.  Hey, it's progress.

What's shocking is that he actually admitted he deleted me and Statkus' memory.  Heh, yeah, I already wrote it up in an earlier part of this journal, so that I could have a nice, sudden ending. But of course I couldn't write about it unless I knew it happened.  Yep, apparently I got the idea in my head that I didn't want to delete some pictures Statkus took on his phone of Aldaris' ship.  Charlie decided he wanted to explain all of this because...uh, I don't actually know.  I think it was like a combination of a warning, and sort of an opening up of trust.  I don't want to be presumptuous, but I'm starting to think the guy halfway trusts me.  D'aww.  Or maybe he feels sorry for me or something.  I don't know.

We talked about it, and I explained that I'm not really interested in Protoss technology (other than looking at it -- crystal based stuff is pretty), and that we humans have to figure out stuff for ourselves. Not to mention bad people getting their hands on it, or it not even working because we're not a psychic race.  I was telling the truth, but Aldaris might not have believed me.  Even as I said it, I couldn't help but wonder if I'm a traitor.  Even though I don't think Aldaris would attack Earth by his lonesome, in general the Protoss are potential enemies of humans.  These are the people who destroyed planets on a self-righteous whim.  If we were in the K Sector right now, my opinion might be different, but for right now I'm defaulting to manners. Manners mean no stealing.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Me and Aldaris (p33): The Voice of Dae'Uhl

Um, okay.  I can do this.

...I think I can, anyway.  I'm feeling a little faint just thinking about it. wasn't really as bad as it could have been.  It's alright, I can write it.

Okay, so it was a while since I last saw Aldaris, and to be honest, I was starting to think that maybe he'd somehow found a way to get back to the K Sector.  I hoped so, but was a little disappointed that he hadn't contacted me somehow and said goodbye.  Yeah, I know, expecting a goodbye from a dude who doesn't like humans isn't all that rational.  I don't know... it seemed like he might say something like "I'm leaving now" so that we didn't have to bother anymore.

Turns out, Aldaris hadn't left at all.  And it's a good thing he didn't, because...



Okay, I can't do it.  Long story short, something bad happened.  Or almost happened.  I know I said I would record everything that happens relevant to Aldaris being on Earth, but as much as recording the truth is important...I just can't.  I tend to shut down when put into extreme situations, and this...yeah.  Maybe when I've had time to process this enough I can write it down.  For right It's not going to happen.  Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to bury my trouble in mochas and cryptograms until I forget the whole thing happened.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Avenger: Age of Ultron Quick Review

Hey y'all.  So I saw Avengers: Age of Ultron, and now my eyeballs need to throw up.  But since they can't physically do that, I'll just settle for doing a mini-rant here.

This movie sucked.

I've never been a fan of Joss Whedon, and this isn't convincing me.  The only thing I know for sure he's good at is banter.  Quite frankly, if this movie had been more or less nothing but banter and a quick fight with a villain-of-the-week, it would have been superb.  However, since it's a "blockbuster" that's expected to both emulate the comics and spend ungodly amounts of money on 3d crap that doesn't matter, ugh.

Note that I'm probably going to spoil something in the movie.  Not that it matters, because this kind of movie is nearly unspoilable.  Comic book movie, and all that.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Summer Hiatus

Hey y'all.  So you've noticed the slowdown in posts, more than likely.  The school year is finishing up, and I've been working a lot on that.  But that's not the only issue.  I have lots of real world things to focus on, including getting a job that isn't inconsistent and dead-end.  Granted, I love working in a bookstore, but it's really more of a job for a young person who needs an entry-level job or a housewife who wants something to do and likes books -- there's not enough hours or pay for a person of my age and position.  Not to mention I have things I want to publish, and I need to put effort into writing them, not just rants on a blog.

However, I've always liked writing here.  It gives me a chance to express things I have no other outlet for, as well as just have fun.  So for now, the solution is that I'm going on hiatus.  So from now until September, I'm officially not going to be updating.

Let me express exactly what this means.  I won't be writing posts until August, at which point I'll write to create a backlog of updates.  And because I know exactly how I'm going to end this segment of Me and Aldaris, there will be two more posts of that story before the end of this month.  I'll finish up the first "season" so to speak, before the break officially hits.

Thank you, everyone, for enjoying this blog.  I hope to see you again later in the year.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Me and Aldaris (p32): Secret

Toby shoved some cold spaghetti in his mouth.  He'd wanted to hang out with some friends and catch dinner, but the Korean knocked out cold on the couch of his flat said otherwise.  He'd been excited when Cheonha first randomly showed up in his favorite cafe, but that was before the translation mishaps and Cheonha nodding off at the table.

I forgot the time differences.  Toby shoved in more leftovers and chewed.  Cold spaghetti is my favorite food.  It is right now, anyway.

Toby went around the bar that divided the kitchen and living space, then sat at one of his bar stools and plunked the plastic bowl of spaghetti on the bar. It was easier to keep an eye on Cheonha that way.  Not that she need an eye on her.  Since getting to the flat she hadn't done more than collapse on his couch and pass out.

Actually, Toby was disappointed with more than that.  He'd met an alien, but Aldaris was boring -- nothing at all like the Doctor, or any other alien in media.  Aldaris was no adventuring explorer, sage mystic, or sinister invader.  Toby's life wasn't at all more interesting.  So far, he'd seen two minutes worth of New York, had a nice dinner with a Chinese family, and become the unexpected host of a randomly appearing Korean.  There wasn't so much as one wild space adventure romp.  Toby made a point to ask Aldaris if they could orbit and look at the moon, next time he went up.  At least that would be interesting.

Come on now, Charlie, get that teleporter working!  Why haven't you tried to find Cheonha yet? Certainly you know when your teleporter is being used. Toby stirred his noodles into a tornado around his fork.  And next time I see you, try to be a bit more exciting!

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Return to Nitpickery: Mystic Warrior

Alright, so our next Starcraft official novelist is Tracy Hickman, the guy who wrote Starcraft: Speed of Darkness.  He brings us today the story Mystic Warrior, book one of the Bronze Canticles series.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Return to Nitpickery: King's Man and Thief

Hey y'all.  So this blog sees the return of Christie Golden, author of the Dark Templar trilogy.  In my new series Return to Nitpickery, we'll be going over the original fiction of authors to compare it to the work they did when creating their entry/ies in the Starcraft official novel franchise.  It feels unfair to judge a writer based on work they did for a franchise they don't have the right to properly control. It's not their characters, not their plot, and their creativity is instantly limited, particularly if Blizzard had specific things they wanted to accomplish with the book.

So the first book up will be Christie Golden's King's Man & Thief.

I had to use this picture because it's the only one bigger than a stamp.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Me and Aldaris (p31): Human After All

There were some days when Lee Cheonha just didn't like to work.  This was one of those days.  Sure, working in a shop wasn't so bad, and the pay was enough for Cheonha's few expenses, but for the moment Cheonha was happy to be walking home.  She walked quietly down the crowded streets of Seoul, dodging all the young teens and twenty-somethings going out to have fun.  Cheonha briefly considered calling Eunha to go somewhere.

No, I do not think so. Cheonha hurried past a toekkbokki stand.  I am far too tired for the karaoke bar or the PC bang.  Eunha always wants to go to those places.

To Cheonha, nothing sounded better than simply going home and lying on the couch.  Maybe break open her english workbooks and study again, if she felt like it, though she wasn't convinced she could make a decision until she had the chance to kick off her shoes.  The rest of the walk home passed by in a daze, and Cheonha soon found herself unlocking her door.  

With a yawn, Cheonha stretched and plopped down on the couch, without even bothering to remove her purse (and forgetting entirely about her shoes).  She sat down on beside it, closing her eyes for just a moment.

Wait....that smell...

Monday, March 23, 2015

End of March Update

Hey y'all.   So it's almost two in the morning right now, and I'm still working on some outlines for school.  I can't go to sleep yet, because they're due tomorrow and I need to make sure that they're ready by two o'clock.  Yeah, weird 'net class due time.

In any case, that's why I haven't been posting as much lately.  I've been working on a lot of school stuff, and this particular class has got me nervous, as I'm struggling through it right now, and my graduation depends on how well I can do on the next three tests.  I can't afford much distraction right now.

On the other hand, I haven't let this blog slip.  For one thing, I am working on my next Me and Aldaris post, so expect that soon.  Also, I'm planning on doing a series where I read and review non-Starcraft works of the authors of official Starcraft fiction, so that we can see how well their original work compares to a book on another entity's franchise.  I've already gotten a William C. Dietz book from work ready to go.

So please be patient with me, good content coming soon!  Also, I get my associate's degree this May (this particular class notwithstanding), so in the summer I'll have more time to get some stuff going here.  Maybe one of these days I'll stick to a set schedule, but we'll see what happens.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Five Arguments Against Good Graphics in Video Games

Hey y'all.  So as a kid, I dreaded the future of video games.  Why?  Because graphics were getting better.  Sure, the sample display of Star Fox 64 at the video store (yeah, this was the mid-nineties) looked pretty fun, but I didn't like the idea of game consoles having really great, developed graphics. Star Fox 64 was a great game, but it was a sign of the future -- games were going to get more complicated and realistic, and there was nothing ten year old me could do about it.  The future was coming, and I didn't like it!

Granted, I'm not really sure why I dreaded it so much as a kid.  Guess I always was an old fogey at heart.  But now that the age of modern, high resolution gaming has come to pass, I agree completely with my old opinion.  Modern gaming has become a beast, with more darkness, less charm, and just a conglomerate of spend, spend, spend.  My younger friends rant and rave about modern games, but I'd rather not bother anymore.

Keep in mind that I'm not being entirely serious with this post.  While I don't particularly like modern games, that's for varying reasons.  Not the least of which is that I'm now a grown up, so I don't have time to waste playing them.  This is just my reaction to people whining about older games, as well as an expression of my old fogey-ness and love of the aesthetic style of nineties games.


1. Good graphics force games to be more about story.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Write Club: the Three Stages of Artistic Development

Hey y'all.  So I was watching an old season of Project Runway, and I realized that in all artistic endeavors, there are three general stages that happen to any given artist.  Granted, this is more hypothesis than certainty, but it's a general observation that people who want to do anything artistic have three general stages they go through, each adjusted in length and intensity by the individual's personality.

Stage 1: the discovery of talent/interest, rebellious stage.

This is the time when the person in question finds out about a particular art form, and that he's talented at it.  Or at least so interested in it, he thinks he's talented.  Which is perfectly fine, because thinking you're talented in an area is a great step up in actually becoming good at it.  Sure, you might realize how awful you were several years down the line, but if your false belief in your own quality got you ahead, then hey, it did its job.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

A Philosophical Note on the Nature of Fate

Hey y'all.  So I was thinking about fate.  People tend to be rather "yes or no" concerning it.  That is, it exists, or it doesn't.  Doesn't it occur to anyone that this is strange?  Why should fate apply equally to all?

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Top Ten Reasons The Legend of Zelda Majora's Mask is Amazing

Hey y'all.  So one of the things readers of this blog might notice is that I can be pretty negative at times.  This is because it's usually easier to describe what one dislikes about something, rather than what one likes -- it's easy enough to say that something is fun or inspirational, but when you dislike something, you have to really explain it for other people to get why that's the case.  Thus, an explanation of dislikes is more likely to be detailed and informative.  Unless you like something other people don't, but generally people tend to be accepting of what other people like rather than what people dislike.  You would not believe how hateful fans of the movie Clue can be to people who recognize Clue for the schlock it is.

All the same, this blog can use more positivity.  I tried to write a happier blog once about Mortal Kombat (1995), but it got too long and ranty.  Since I'm on a Legend of Zelda kick right now, why not talk about Majora's Mask for the time being?

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Top Ten Things to Say about The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess

Hey y'all.  So I've been on a Legend of Zelda binge, watching all kinds of let's plays on these games. The only one I've ever played (that is, watched my brother play) is the original NES version decades ago.  As a person coming into the series with essentially no knowledge of the franchise whatsoever, I was surprised by the mysticism, randomness, and convolution present in the series.  It's like every single game is an experiment of gameplay and setting, and the story is forced to bend over backwards to compensate for all the new trinkets, different worlds, and varying graphic styles throughout the games as they go on.  Pretty interesting, actually, as a game can be absolutely anything the makers want it to be.

I haven't seen all the Legend of Zelda games yet, nor have I seen the full let's plays of some of these, but here's my first impression of some of them.

- Legend of Zelda (NES): Great example of NES era confusion. Despite being basically impossible to beat without a walkthrough, not knowing what to do is half the fun.  Great music, too.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Write Club: Tips for Writing

Hey y'all.  So when it comes to writing, there's lots of pitfalls to producing wordcount.  Possibly the most difficult obstacle is just doing it -- sitting there at your computer and forcing words into the page.  There are so many excuses we have for not writing: chores, school, work, obligations, family...the list goes on.  And many of those excuses are genuinely good ones, so we stop feeling bad, mostly, when we don't write.  Or we get mad at other people for interfering with our writing time, but let's not go there.

One of the things I've found when I write well is that I find myself in a...well, a sort of "hypnotic" state.  I'm focused in on the work, not thinking of anything else but what I'm about to put on the page. It's like my mind is sending words on a conveyor belt to the factory that is my fingers.  I can't say if anyone else gets into this trance-like mode, but it feels assumable that those who are in the mood to write can really focus and put other things out of their minds.

There are ways to trigger this focused state, but it's not something you'll be inclined to feel.  There will be those days when you're too emotional (sad or angry, doesn't matter), and feel that you can't dig into what you're writing because of what's happened earlier in the day.  Or you're just plain feeling lazy.

So what can you do to achieve focus?  That usually depends on the individual.  However, I've accumulated a few tips that should help you channel your creativity properly.  See if they work for you, why not?

1. Force yourself to write

Friday, January 16, 2015

January 2015 Update

Hey y'all.  So I've been sporadic in updating, but lately I've got some things up.  I just wanted to talk a little about the things I have planned.  Well, not that I plan too much with this.  There are a lot of things on my plate, this blog generally serves as run-off for my scattered inspiration rather than an official place where I intend to...I dunno, make money or something.  Heh, if money were the case I'd be on Youtube by now.

Anyway, here are some things I've got in the pipe.

- My fanfiction Me and Aldaris has been on hiatus way too long.  I do intend to work more on it, and I've been thinking about it a lot lately.  It's not going to be the best story ever, but it's something I have that allows me to collect my mind drabbles about my favorite franchise.  It will happen, please be patient.

- I've been listening to a lot of music, and I have two blog ideas with this in mind.  One is a top ten list of songs that would be improved if they had no lyrics.  This one I'm not ready to write out yet, as I only have half of a list collected and I want to look into more popular music before being conclusive about it.  There's a lot of popular music that's ignorable these days.  The other blog, a top ten of Infected Mushroom songs, is also not quite ready, but given that they're a great study/writing band, I'll have this compiled soon.

- Write Club is something that should update at least once a month, as this is supposed to be a writer's blog, and it's good to address as much as possible those ideas in writing that aren't readily talked about in books, or just things that are interesting discussion starters in general.  Or me complaining about things I don't like in writing.  That's always fun.  For me, anyway.

I do have a Write Club post, and it's nothing too complicated.  More than likely, that'll be my soonest post.

- So, reviews.  I will always review whatever media I happen to watch lately, which may take a back seat now that school is on.  What I plan on doing is binging on schoolwork (online classes) and taking the extra time to write.  We'll see how that goes.

Me and Aldaris is a bigger priority for me than reviews, but reviews are fun, so they'll be around.  I wanted to do a Donkey Kong Country 3 discussion -- that's the reason why I bothered to review the first two games, which really need no introduction at this point.  Then there's the Star Trek '09 review, which I never did get around to, but still have all the notes for.  I also had the idea to review the Starcraft official fiction writers' books, so that we could see if they're better at their own universes, and if working with a game company's franchise tripped them up at all.  We do have many of those writers at my work in the sci fi section.

We'll see how that goes.  These aren't something that's immediately ready for writing, but they're ideas, and chances are I'll return to them.

- There is a post I'm working on for University of Orwell, but these posts are always going to be slow.  Thing is, good history books tend to be "thick" reads, mentally if not physically.  Thus, proper assessments of them will take time.  I should have another update post for this just as soon as I finish writing an assessment of a book I've just finished.

The bad news (for this blog) is that not only has school started, but I also have publishable works I really need to finish before the year ends.  I also hope to get a second job, if my first doesn't give me enough hours.  Life is complicated, but as long as there's something to rant about, you can bet I'll be on it.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Write Club: Getting Advice from Writers

Hey y'all.  So I was thinking about receiving advice from other people who write.  Not all advice is good advice, or the correct advice for you personally.  Trouble is, you can't just read a book to correct your reading.  You already know most rules of grammar, and after you get to a certain point in writing, there's very little most writing books can tell you that you haven't already heard before, or learned for yourself through writing.  Some things about writing can't really be described, or described easily.  You have to learn it by writing it.

Okay, so you've got this manuscript or sample writing, but you don't know who to show it to.  It's always good to assess the people around you and figure out who is the best to learn from.  There's your family, but they for many reasons may not be all that helpful.  Some may be so proud of you for trying, or simply want to encourage you, so they say nice things about your work.  That's a nice ego boost, but at the end of the day that's really all it is.  You are not closer to your goal of being better or making your work more publishable.

Professional editors cost money, and so do writing contests.  Internet forums or messenger services require you to put your stuff online, which may or may not be a safe option.  Not to mention that receiving information in text form robs you of the context in reviewers' commentary.  It's really best to make friends who write, particularly ones you can meet with fairly often and can trust.

Writers, however, don't always make for the best reviewers.  There's a few caveats you need to be aware of.  There are three types of writers: worldbuilders, character creators, and plotters.  They focus each on different aspects of story, as I've mentioned on a previous blog.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Nitpickery: Hunter X Hunter, Part 2

Hey y'all.  So it's back to Hunter X Hunter, and let's finish this thing.


Okay, so the fourth season pick up after an extremely violent fourth season.  Gon and Killua are trying to find Gon's father Ging, and attempt to do so by entering a game called Greed Island.

I have to say it -- naming the family Ging and Gon is a really bad pun.  For the record, "ging gon" is the Japanese onomatopoeia of the sound of a bell ringing.  So cheesy.

But anyway, Gon and Killua spent season 3 (when they weren't helping Kurapika) trying to earn enough money to try and buy a copy of Greed Island.  At the beginning of season 4, they figure that they can't afford it, so they decide to let someone else buy it, and then offer to play. Someone called Battera has bought up all the copies he can get his hands on.  He's hiring anyone who can use nen well to play the game and beat it, because the person who beats it can pick three cards to take into the real world, and he wants those cards.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Nitpickery: Hunter X Hunter, Part 1

Hey y'all.  So I'm still going on my anime kick.  Things are looking up, actually.  I've found an anime that's actually pretty good.

So far.  Oh, and nitpickery is spoilers.  Real quick, the spoiler-free review.

Well, I really liked the first season.  It was fun, dramatic, and had a story that only got more intense. Hunter X Hunter is the story of Gon Freecss, a twelve year old boy who dreams of becoming a Hunter, just like his long lost father.  A hunter being someone who fights exotic monsters and discovers treasure.  The trouble with becoming a hunter is that you have to survive a death-defying series of difficult tests, assuming you even made it to the testing location in the first place.  Gon is joined by Kurapika, a "boy" trying to avenge the gruesome deaths of her people, and Leorio, a goofy guy intent on getting money.  They are later joined by Killua, a young boy trying to escape his assassin family and do what he wants with his life.

Hunter X Hunter starts out very well, with a happy, fun tone that promises good times.  However, after the first season, it starts having major tonal shifts every season, more or less becoming entirely different stories that happen to feature the same characters.  It can be entertaining, but it's also exhausting to keep up with all the randomness in the plot.  While this show has good characters and a great premise, its story is rather like being taken by the neck and shaken repeatedly.

Oh, and a quick note on the animation.  It's not as expensive as other anime, and some people found fit to severely criticize it, particularly for not being up to modern standards of action animes. However, the lower quality animation never bothered me at all.  If you're someone that cares, it might be a problem, but this anime looks perfectly fine.  I appreciate the lack of obvious CGI, like lots of modern animes have.  While I'm at it, the music is okay.  Nothing mind-blowing, but nothing bad. Except for a time or two where for some reason there's a piece of music that sounds like a phone getting a text.  Distracting.

Onward, into spoilers!