Sunday, January 28, 2018

Music Monday #16

How is it already time to make another one of these posts?


Well, to carry on this month's theme of wintery video game music, I have for you today . . .

"Silver Snow Story" from Kirby: Triple Deluxe
Composed by Nintendo


Yes, I know I recently picked a Kirby song, but I couldn't not showcase this song to you guys. I just love the cheery vibe to the song. Every instrument in this song somehow manages to sound chilly. And the violin! That's my favorite part of the track. I feel like this song is referencing another Kirby tune, but I can't place it . . . Anyone got any ideas?

Okay, so I was actually looking for the picture included down below, and I had to look up on the Kirby wiki which stage that was. I found out that it was the fourth stage in Old Odyssey (the third world of the game, if you care to know). In the trivia section, it mentioned how the music in that stage was a remix of "Peanut Plains" from Kirby Super Star.

Why did I include this random fact? Well, the first Kirby game I ever played was Kirby Super Star Ultra. "Peanut Plains" would've been one of the first Kirby songs I heard, so my nostalgia was subconsciously activated when I heard this tune. Which, by the way, just got ten times better! Seriously, finding this out is kinda mind-blowing for me, and makes me love the game even more.

If you own any system in the 3DS family, you have got to play Triple Deluxe! With a similar art style to Kirby's Return to Dream (which is my all-time favorite installment in the franchise for numerous reasons), this title is just pure fun. I have never played a Kirby game that I haven't enjoyed. Everything in this game--from the style to the music to the world/level design to the characters--screams perfect.

One of the coolest things about the game is the background elements. Take a look at the level this music plays in:

source

As you can see, the levels have foreground and background, which adds a new element to puzzles and fighting bad guys, who can switch between the two. Just the fact that this game has literal depth is pretty great.

I'll stop rambling now. What're your thoughts on the music? Which Kirby game was your first? And if you haven't played one, I feel truly sorry for you. You're missing out on a great life experience.

Friday, January 26, 2018

#KnowJoe Q&A, Part 2

As I mentioned last time, you guys asked me a lot of questions. 54, to be exact. I had to divide my Q&A into two parts, so that's what you'll be getting today. I don't think there's anything else I need to say in this intro, so let us continue on the path of enlightenment! (Because, you know, you're understanding me better.)

I wonder what the neighbors would've thought if they saw me dressed like this . . .

28. Which Once Upon a Time character do you relate to the most?

Hook, because I'm roguishly dashing and girls swoon in my presence.

source; Yep, the secret's out: I was actually the one who played Hook.

29. What do you hope 2018 looks like for you?

Well, I'm hoping for a lot of things, such as:

  • A lot more writing
  • More book reading
  • Stronger and more relationships
  • A job I truly enjoy
  • My own vehicle
  • Being able to go to Realm Makers

Yeah, that's what I would like to do in 2018. So I guess you could say I want to be more successful in all areas of my life this year. Not a bad thing to hope for, I think.

30. Who would be your archenemy and why?

I know I've said Ganondorf in the past, but to shake things up, I'm going to pick . . . either Ghirahim or Reverse-Flash. Ghirahim is one of my favorite Zelda villains. He's the perfect blend between cool and creepy, which is a good combo for me. But Reverse-Flash is a very patient, cunning individual. I'm not sure why I'd choose him because he has speed and I don't, but he's just an awesome bad guy. So one of those two. Although I'm sure I could pick many others.

31. Favorite Disney princess?

Hmm . . . probably Rapunzel from Tangled. But I also liked Belle from both the old and new Beauty and the Beast films, Moana from Moana, and Anna from Frozen.

32. What's something very obscure that you know?

Oh boy. Lemme think . . . apparently ninja didn't use katanas as often as they're depicted. The swords took three months to make and were pretty heavy as well. Ninja were far more likely to use what was readily available to them, such as sickles--like the Yiga Clan in Breath of the Wild.

source; I love how they flipped the Sheikah symbol upside-down for their masks.

33. Why don't you like waffles?!

. . . I love waffles, so I have no idea why this question was even asked. (You just trying to be goofy, Kaitlyn? Because it's working!)

34. What's your best piece of writing advice?

Make the struggles personal. That's what I did with Digital Pulse. I used the issues I was wrestling with at the time in my story, and I think it added an emotional oomph to it. I highly suggest that if you're writing, make the theme something you care about, something you can learn from. It'll make your story stand out, even if you may not realize it.

35. If you could live in any time period, which one would you pick?

I'm not actually sure. Every era has its positives and negatives. Maybe the future? I don't know how many years, but it'd be interesting to see how technology advances and how the world progresses. *shrugs* I'm stumped. I can't think of any time period that truly appeals to me, because of all the issues that are coming to mind.

36. Which Lord of the Rings character do you feel most similar to?

I think it might be a toss-up between Sam and Frodo. I really, really hope I'm the Sam kind of friend, one who is loyal to a fault and is looking out for others. I know that when any of my friends are dealing with stuff, I always try to help as best as I can. But I also feel like I'm Frodo, because I sometimes feel like my burdens are mine alone to carry. Now, technically, it's probably good that Frodo didn't hand off the Ring to just anybody, but it's too easy for me to deal with my problems on my own. I forget that God wants me to cast all my cares on Him, so I need to work on not carrying them alone.

37. If you could meet one person, living or dead, who would it be?

There's a lot of different people I could say, but . . . ugh, this is hard. See, I want to choose some of my online friends and my three favorite YouTubers (DanTDM, Jacksepticeye, and Markiplier, if you're curious), but I can't pick just one! I'm going to cheat and say my two friends in New Zealand, but I'd rather meet everyone on my mental list.

38. If you had to choose, would you rather have all your memories taken from you or everyone you know have their memories taken from them?

I'd hate it, but I would rather lose all my memories, and here's why. If I choose everyone I know losing their memories, that's a lot of people who are affected! I'd be messing up so many lives, and knowing that would be an immense burden I'd have to deal with for the rest of my life. But I'm just one person. If I lose my memories, that affects a lot less people. It's not a good decision either way, but the first option is the lesser of two evils.

39. What genre(s) of music are you indifferent to?

Okay, this may sound kinda bad . . . but I'm a little indifferent to typical Christian music. It's not appealing enough, instrumentally speaking, to be something I love, but I don't hate it either. It's just . . . there. Most genres of music I either love or hate, but Christian music in general is so-so. Now, don't get me wrong. I love artists and bands like Switchfoot, Skillet, NF, and Owl City. But too much of the music in Christian songs feels a little bland, or very similar to other songs. That's just my opinion.

40. What's a location, near or far, that holds happy memories?

Home holds a lot of happy memories for me. It's a place where I can relax, where I can hang out and laugh with my family. I've actually been meaning to put together a playlist of songs for what home feels like to me. It's a refuge, a safe haven, a harbor. I wouldn't have it any other way.

41. What is the answer to life, the universe, and everything?

Pi: 3.141592654.

source; It's a Pi pie!

42. Would you rather be able to travel to the past or to the future?

I'm going to assume I'm simply traveling and not choosing a time period to live in, so I'll say the past. There's a lot of interesting events and people that I'd like to see. Who knows, it could possibly even help my writing!

43. Have you ever wished to be taller or short?

If anything, maybe a little taller, but I'm pretty comfortable with my height. I think I'm about 5'10", possibly 5'11". It's a decent height, I think. The only reason I'd want to be taller is because I feel shorter than a number of guys I know. That's literally the only reason.

44. Favorite chocolate bar?

I love Oh Henry, Big Turk, that Cadbury chocolate chip cookie dough one, Crispy Crunch, Snickers, etc. So I don't have one favorite. (I'm like that with a lot of things.)

45. Is there any chance you'll tell us how you are so awesome? You know, give the rest of us lesser mortals some tips?

First off, this is a fantastic question! Secondly . . . darling, since when did a star like myself give away his secrets? All I can tell you is that you have to practice. I worked hard to become this awesome. It doesn't happen overnight! You must train yourself in the way of the Awesome People, of which I am but the most popular member. That's all I can. Just watch what I do and glean your info that way.

46. Favorite Marvel movie?

I can't pick just one! I love them all so much!

. . . But I'm going to say Captain America: The First Avenger. That's a classic for me, and it got me hooked on the Marvel films. I watched it three times in one week!

source

47. Do you enjoy acting in/watching plays?

If I could, I'd love to act in a play. I think when it comes to acting in general, I would sooner pick voice acting, but I think it would be a lot of fun to participate in a stage performance. I don't know how good I'd be at it. If I were given the opportunity and the training, I'd definitely say yes.

As for watching plays, I haven't seen very many. It's a fun experience every now and then, but I prefer watching movies when I can get my top-notch sets and special effects and whatnot. I have only seen local plays, though, so maybe the big ones would be something I'd really enjoy!

48. Favorite Disney movie?

Tracey, why are you trying to make me pick just one favorite? I CAN'T. One of my favorites is Big Hero 6. That was such an epic and emotional movie. I wish they would make a sequel, and at the same time, I'm glad they haven't. I only want them to make a second movie if they have a really amazing plot.

Speaking of Disney movies, I am very curious as to what the Artemis Fowl film coming out this year is going to look like. I hope it's really good! It looks like they're going to be covering the events of the first two books, while adding a character who comes later on in the series. Hopefully it turns out to be a fantastic movie and they keep making more, because the Artemis Fowl series is one of my all-time favorites.

49. What book have you forced yourself to finish?

Vanish by Tom Pawlik.

source

Honestly, I have no idea how this book won any awards, or how it could even be compared to Ted Dekker's work. It was nothing but a let-down. The description on the back made it sound interesting, but it turned out to be nothing more than a religious in-your-face-and-down-your-throat message, something I have very little tolerance for. I don't remember all the details of the books; I just remember wasting my time reading the whole thing.

50. What was your favorite subject in school?

History was always my favorite. I love learning about the past; it's fascinated me for the longest time, and I'm not exactly sure why. I especially love it when it's told like a story. Unfortunately, as far as I know, this never happens in school, which is a shame. I think it's why I loved The Republic of Pirates by Colin Woodard so much. Not only did it cover one of my favorite historical eras--the Golden Age of Piracy--but it gave all the facts in a story format. I highly recommend it to everyone who wants to read an interesting history book.

51. Do you or have you ever played any organized sports?

No, I have not, and I probably never will. It just makes your schedule way too busy, and I have zero interest in sports. Well, I shouldn't say that. I've been a few local hockey and baseball games, and I've enjoyed those. It's just not something I care to watch often.

52. Why did you start blogging?

Good question! I started for a couple of reasons. One of my top reasons was that I want to become a published author, and I needed a platform to interact with people who might enjoy what I have to offer. I also just wanted to do it as a "for fun" thing, because it's a place where I can share things that I enjoy, interact with other writers, have great conversations, etc. You guys mean more to me than you may know! So thanks for taking the time to read my posts and interact with me in the comments. You're all appreciated!

53. Do you prefer pens, pencils, markers, or some other writing utensil?

I can't choose between pens and pencils. Pens write darker and don't need to be sharpened, but you can't erase mistakes you make. Pencils, on the other hand, just feel right to me, especially when I'm writing stories, but they gotta be sharpened and write faintly when the lead is getting fat. So I'm not sure. In general, probably pens, but for story writing, pencils all the way.

54. How do you take notes if inspiration strikes at random?

*chuckles nervously* That's the thing . . . I don't. I trust my brain to remember all my good ideas, and it works surprisingly well! For the most part, anyway. Now that I have a phone, I can just use that to quickly put down a random idea that comes to mind so I can review it later. But before that? Just my good ol' noggin.

And that's all of your questions! I enjoyed answering all of them. Thanks for participating in this Q&A. But none of you asked possibly some of the most obvious questions, like if I had a crush on anybody (well, anyone who's not a video game character, that is). So I'm going to include one, and I'm really not sure why I'm doing this . . . Here goes nothing.

Bonus Question: What is one of your most embarrassing memories?

How did no one ask this question? I was totally expecting it. I never thought I'd have to add it myself.

In college, we were divided up into four teams and had to give oral book reports in front of the class and our four "judges," if you will. We had to dress up professionally and everything. On the day of my group's presentation, one of our team members decided to not show up without any warning, so the rest of us had to meld her points into our own. We miraculously were able to pull it off, and we got the most praise out of all the groups.

"What's embarrassing about that?" you might ask. Nothing! Except for one tiny detail.

My fly was unzipped the whole time, and I didn't discover it until after the fact. I had hoped that no one else had seen. Turns out, several weeks, one of my classmates let slip that . . .

Everyone.

Had.

Noticed.

It was so awkward and embarrassing! I still feel those emotions when I think of it now. *shudders*

On that bombshell, let's end the #KnowJoe Q&A! Thank you again for all your wonderful questions. I hope you got to know me just a little better!

Monday, January 22, 2018

The Music Monday 2017 Awards - Round 2

Welcome back, ladies and gentlemen, to the first ever Music Monday 2017 Awards!


Last time, nine of you (and that includes me) voted for the best song of each month. Here are the results.

July: "Ice of Phoenix" by Audiomachine, with 5 votes. (The other two songs got two votes each.)

August: "If You Love These People" from Man of Steel with 8 votes. (I think this should be called "If You Love This Song, Then Vote For It" . . . okay, that was lame.)

September: "Impossible (feat. Merethe Soltvedt)" by Two Steps From Hell with 5 votes. (Just barely won!)

October: "So Far Away" by Gabriel Brown and Michelle Creber with 7 votes. (A very popular song, I take it.)

November: "A Closer Understanding of the Past" from Ori and the Blind Forest with 5 votes. (Again, a close call!)

December: "The Avengers" from The Avengers with 7 votes. (I kinda saw this coming, to be honest.)

Thank you all for voting! But it doesn't stop here. Now we must determine who the three finalists will be. Trust me, voting is about to become even harder. Buckle up!

July and August

"Ice of Phoenix" by Audiomachine


versus "If You Love These People" from Man of Steel


September and October

"Impossible (feat. Merethe Soltvedt)" by Two Steps From Hell


versus "So Far Away" by Gabriel Brown and Michelle Creber


November and December

"A Closer Understanding of the Past" from Ori and the Blind Forest


versus "The Avengers" from The Avengers


It is your time to act again! Which three songs will you choose? You have another two weeks to vote. That means February 4th is the last day for voting in the second round. If you feel so led, spread the word about the Awards. The more voters, the better!

Which of these 6 songs do you think will become #1? I'm very curious as to which it'll be!

Friday, January 19, 2018

Episode VII: The Cringe Awakens /// Humble Beginnings, Part 7

It's the most wonderful time of the month! Yes, it is time for another dose of Humble Beginnings humor. You know the drill by now, I'm sure, so let's dive right into the thick of it. Lemme just put my sarcastic cap on, and brace yourself for the cringe, because I'm sure we're in for a doozy today.

source

The rookie trio, besides training, had done many different chores, such as mucking stalls, polishing weapons, and the like.

Best sentence ever. Give it up for the guy who came up with this stunning prose! (If it's this bad already . . . we are in for a doozy.)

"Why were you spying on me at the archery grounds the other day?"
Xander reddened. "Well, I was--"
"Seeing if Michelle and I had something going?"
Now Xander's face was radiating. "Um, maybe," he replied.

How juvenile. Is Xander an adult solider, or is he a teen trapped in a man's body, like every other character in this story? Well, not every character, but you know what I mean. There was literally no reason for him and Nathan to snoop on Marchelle, except for comedic purposes.

The three soldiers started to chortle. "You look like a tomato," Warren joked. 
"Hi, Bob," David added.

Uh, why is David referencing VeggieTales, especially in a story where people's hearts are stepped on and grown-ups act like children and girls giggle and daintily pick flowers? EXPLAIN ALL THAT, PLEASE.

"What made you such an expert on love?" Mark retorted. 
"I'm just a chick magnet, that's all," Warren said. "Check out these muscular arms and the dashing face."
"More like the flabby limbs and a face that could give a female nightmares for years," commented David.
"Really? You wanna go, punk? You wanna see these flabby arms in action?" Warren snarled.
There was a brief moment of stillness. Then all four howled crazily with laughter. Mark slipped off his seat, adding to the mirth.

Oh, we're back to this, are we? Rarely, and I do mean rarely, does everyone laugh at the same joke in real life. This isn't just cringey; it's also illogical!

"Hey," a voice called. Nathan set foot in the room. "This is supposed to be a classroom, not a circus. You're acting like a bunch of giddy schoolgirls."

Yeah, you guys didn't know this because I didn't include it, but they are sitting in a classroom because they're supposed to learn stuff, but instead they're just joking around. Nathan does indeed have some good points.

"Then being a schoolgirl sure is fun," Mark barely managed to say.

Aaaaand Mark officially took it into the Weird Zone.

They started with history. Apparently, since the Flood, people have randomly went through the portal to end up in Adiryulle. They developed homes and were saved by Revier. Some abandoned the faith and were called rebels.

Eesh. This faith stuff is cringey even for me, a Christian. That's definitely not a good sign.

Then there was science. As the world modernized, the "Eradorians" found ways to also have some of these comforts. They had a group of people, who were blessed by the ability to see the portal, bring supplies such as lightbulbs to this world. Also, special plants from a continent called Nirackels had interesting properties that were put to use.

Blessed "with," not blessed "by." English, man, English! I'm also incredibly bored by these classes thus far. It's just an excuse to info dump instead of weaving the necessary facts in naturally.

Geography was next. They learned about the six Erador continents: Kalansif, the mountainous region; Nirackels, a lush jungle; Ghrumet, a scorching desert; Zracs, the icy land; Darava, a volcanic area; and Adiryulle, the forest vicinity.

Nintendo world, much?

Finally, language was up at bat. Xander showed them Toreth and how to read it. That took some time, but with practice, they would be able to interpret it with ease.

These were amazing classes and all, but--actually, scratch that. They weren't amazing in the slightest. How long were they sitting there? I would've forgotten all the history stuff by the time I got to the languages. I suppose it's an info dump for them too. And I guess they'll learn Toreth just as easily as they learned swordplay, huh?

Ghrumet: a place that spoke of nothing but despair. Ferocious tornadoes of sand swept over the dunes that stretched for miles. Moaning and screaming of wild beasts sounded shrilly across the land. Dry skeletons lay half buried under the weight of many grains.

Not a half-bad description, if I say so myself. Except for the "many grains" part. That feels a little clunky, and unnecessarily so.

In a darkened room, a massive being dozed, drinking the shadows with delight. He sensed an approaching presence and opened eyes that were completely flooded with orange. The only exception was his pupils that resembled narrow black ovals standing upright. He was the spirit. He was Leviathan.

So far, this new chapter has had the weirdest POV ever. Actually, this whole story has done a lot of head-jumping, so this random floating POV isn't really all that new. And even if we are now in Leviathan's head, why would he acknowledge both his eyes and the fact that he's the spirit? I don't know about you guys, but I don't randomly think to myself, I am a male human. I am Josiah.

A knock sounded on the doors. "Sir," a voice said. It was one of the sentries, who seemed to store some desert sand in his lungs. "He has arrived."

Again, a pretty decent description, rather than outright saying that the sentry's voice is scratchy or rough or raspy or whatever.

A moment late, the traitor walked in, boots squeaking on the tile floor. He wore grim armor and a hooded cloak. His face was skinny with a slight moustache and hair pulled back into a low ponytail.
"Ah, Alex," greeted Leviathan. "What news do you bring?"

Of course. What an amazing plot twist. You remember Alex from way back at the beginning of the story, right? The crazy "secular" character? It makes sense for him to be the traitor, doesn't it? Because logic, right? Well, I think that train of thought should've been derailed a long time ago. There isn't even any build-up to this, aside from a brief mention of there being a traitor! This reveal feels very ill-planned.

Also, if Leviathan has met Alex before, there is no need to go over his physical description again, not unless something's changed since the last time they met. So this is an unnatural insertion of Alex's appearance.

"I have found out who they are," Alex affirmed.
Leviathan furrowed his brow. "Don't speak in riddles, human. Who who are?"
"The Chosen Ones."

I'm starting to think Leviathan is actually a bit of a dumb villain. Would he not have assigned Alex to the task of discovering the identity of the Chosen Ones? Is he really that forgetful? Maybe I should've made him an elephant instead of a dragon, because an elephant never forgets. And they can be pretty ferocious. And there's no way this story could get any more cringey than it already is . . . right?

"And they are?"
Alex checked the room and leaned a respectful distance toward the general, who tilted an ear toward him. He whispered the answer.

How convenient that we are now out anyone's POV so that we don't hear the answer. It's probably--no, it is extremely obvious that Mark, David, and Warren are the Chosen Ones. But are these names really going to mean anything to Leviathan? If he's smart, he'll put two and two together and figure out that they're the three soldiers who went through the portal, according to Tarquin's earlier report. But honestly, at this point, they'll just be three random names to Leviathan, which I don't think I like.

"Hmmm," Leviathan said. "You found this out yourself?"
"No, I have an informant." 
"Can they be trusted to keep this secret?"
Alex scoffed. "Ian wouldn't dare think of it, lest he wants to die."

Remember Ian? The guy who had one brief scene not long ago? The guard who's stationed by the room where the translators are working on the tablet? Yeah, that dude. Also no build-up, so no real surprise. *shakes my head* How was my writing this terrible?!

A claw whipped across the traitor's face. He let out a yelp and jumped back, holding a hand over the wound. Leviathan snarled, "Do not ever talk like that to me again, fool. I am not one to be toyed with."
"Of course not, general," Alex whimpered. "Forgive me of my stupidity."
Leviathan's throat rumbled. "Do you think I am the merciful type, one that easily forgives and forgets? Do you think my heart is soft, willing to pardon? Do you think I'm still HUMAN?!" roared Leviathan. "I could burn you where you stand if I desired to."
"No, no, I didn't say I fancied that. Please, let me make it up to you," Alex pleaded desperately.

What can we learn from this wonderful *cough cough* exchange? Leviathan has anger management issues, because I don't think what Alex said should really have ticked him off so bad, and Alex is a sniveling coward, which I think is contrary to what a soldier should be.

"You had better," the dragon said, nostrils flaring. "Now, can this Ian translate Toreth expertly?"
"Yes, very well indeed."
"Wonderful. I will amass an army, and they shall sail to the rebel side of Adiryulle. Your people better let them in." Leviathan barred his teeth. "Or else."

You're putting your trust in one man to convince all of the rebels that they should let the enemy in their side of the continent? This seems very unlikely. Yes, the rebels turned Revier over to Lurkum way-back-when, but that doesn't they're all evil now. Also, you're believing that a guy you've never met can translate Toreth well enough to merit you sending an army right into the homeland of your foes? My opinion of Leviathan as a villain is dropping dramatically. Plus, he used the ambiguous "or else" threat, so he loses credit just because of that.

 "Your wish is my command, general." Alex bowed and turned to leave.
"One more thing. Is my castle ready?"
"It is, sir. Construction finished yesterday, and those faithful to, uh, Him," Alex made sure he didn't say His name, "do not suspect a thing."

Right, because randomly building a castle (probably a second one that has a menacing appearance to boot) isn't suspicious at all. Who's making it, anyway? The rebels? Is there a faction of rebels of serve Lurkum, and the rest are just not interested in either side? WHY IS THIS SO CONFUSING? WHERE IS THE LOGIC? DID THIRTEEN-YEAR-OLD ME REPLACE IT WITH CRINGE? WHY AM I STILL USING CAPS LOCK?

Leviathan nodded. "Dismissed."
Alex swiftly abandoned the dark lair and touched his new scar. Someday, when that old idiot dragon wasn't expecting it, Alex would kill him. 
And he would show who is boss.

Oh, so now Alex wants to dispose of his general? I hear that doesn't always work too well, especially when said general breathes fire. Alex also has some magical healing abilities, because what should still be a fresh wound is now a scar. And that last sentence feels awkward, due to some odd wording. What a splendid way to end off the chapter!

Now, I know this isn't as long as some of my other Humble Beginnings posts, but the next chapter has a proper battle scene in it, so I feel there's going to be a lot to make fun of in there. I hope that's okay!

Thank you all for reading! What're your thoughts on my oh-so-great plot twists and these villains who definitely aren't one-dimensional in the slightest bit? What would you do if your classes were likes the one the heroes attended? And also, should I make one of these posts as a vlog, where I read a whole chapter or two (depending how long they are) and insert my commentary along the way? 

Monday, January 15, 2018

Music Monday #15

I don't know about you, but I think it's time for some more music!


And what fits the weather better than a wintery song?

"Snowball Park" from Super Mario 3D World
Composed by Nintendo


Up here where I live, the bitter cold has sunk its teeth in again. Things were starting to warm up for a little bit, then we got another cold snap. But while the weather may sometimes be frightful, festive music is always delightful!

Should you happen to have a Wii U, and you haven't played this game yet, I suggest that you go ahead and buy it. It's like the spiritual successor to the Super Mario Galaxy games while paying homage to the Super Mario Bros. series. So it's a pretty perfect combo.

I love snowy levels in Nintendo games, and Snowball Park was no exception. There was falling snow, northern lights . . . I mean, you can even skate around on an ice rink with Goombas! Who doesn't want to do that?

source

Honestly, if we could stand in one giant skate in real life, I think I would enjoy skating a whole lot more.

And what's there not to love about this level's tunes? The music is just so cheerful and carefree! I love the strings and the bells and everything else. Doesn't it make you want to go on a romp outside in the snow like you did when you were a kid? Well, it does that for me, anyway. There's something about its whimsical nature that really appeals to me. Even though there are enemies and dangerous cliffs in the level, the music just puts you at ease and creates a fantastic atmosphere. I love it!

I hope you guys enjoyed the track! What do you think of the length of these posts? Should they be longer, or stay the same? Remember, you have one week left to vote in the first round of the Music Monday 2017 Awards!

Sunday, January 14, 2018

#KnowJoe Q&A, Part 1

It's time. Back in the beginning of December, I decided you guys should get to know me better. So I challenged you to ask me whatever you wanted.

Well, 54 questions later, I've been asked random (as well as not-so-random) things about me. If you paid attention to the title, you noticed this was part 1. Because of the huge number of questions and me wanting to answer them all, I decided to divide it up into two parts. But enough chitchat! I suggest we stop wasting time and get this show on the road!

Yes, believe it or not, that's me under that mask.

1. How many years did it take for you to love writing?

I only started liking it when I was about 12 or so--you know, when I began that awful story I'm mocking in my Humble Beginnings post. Even though I poke fun at my old writing, it's important because it helped me on my journey in becoming a writer.

Before that? You couldn't pay me to enjoy writing. Okay, it wasn't that bad, but my mom would probably tell you I grumbled whenever I had a writing project in school. At least, that's how I started off. Now that I think about it, there was an in-between stage where I kinda liked it, but I only started loving it when I wrote the first Portal Chronicles story.

2. When did you first start playing video games?

Dang . . . it feels like a long time ago! I can't remember the exact date, but one of my first real games was Webkinz World. Anyone remember that?

How creative! A frog named Hopper! 8-year-old me was clearly already on the path to becoming a successful writer.

I eventually played other games, such as Club Penguin.

This was one of my favorite MMOGs ever!

I also played some PS2 games at my friend's place, until his neighbors gave another one to him and he passed it on to me. He also gave me his Game Boy Advance SP, which sparked my love for Nintendo games with this nostalgic title:

source; I can hear the overworld theme already . . .

3. If you could have any writing-related superpower (real or imagined), what would it be? (Or, if you had a superpower, what would it be, and how would you use it to help your writing?)

I'd want to have the power of speed. Wanna know why?

source; I try to quote this, but my Irish accent isn't on point.

I'd love to be able to run fast and be super cool like the Flash, but I'd use to type my stories really quickly. Of course, there is the possibility of going through multiple keyboards, but in the end, my stories would get written a lot swifter . . . maybe.

4. In Legend of Zelda, who do you like like more the most: Zelda, Hilda, Malon, or Saria?

Your boy is good at making collages of attractive girls! Wait, does that sound weird?

Hmm . . . what a deep, thought-provoking question. I think I like like Zelda the most--particularly because she's cute and British in Breath of the Wild. Perfect combination, am I right? She's probably my video game bae or something.

My second choice would Saria, provided she left Kokiri Forest along enough for her to grow up and not be a child anymore because . . . well, because reasons. If that couldn't happen, I'd pick Malon. (That artwork of her is actually pretty ador--um, amazing. I was going to say amazing.)

Sorry, I'm just not into Hilda that much. She seems like a very, shall we say, focused person. Not that it's a bad thing, but I don't think she's happy a lot of the time. Then again, I've only seen her in dire circumstances, so I can't really blame the girl.

5. Name one lyrical and one instrumental song that describe your mood today.

"Motivated" by NF and "Jump!" by Two Steps From Hell.

6. Why are you writing? Like, what makes you keep writing even when you feel like quitting?

I'd say it boils down to a couple of things. One of my top reasons is that I believe God has gifted me with the ability to imagine and pen stories. It's a shame to waste what He's given, so I keep at it, even when I don't always feel like it.

There's also a joy to brainstorming and creating characters and struggling with the issues and themes of the stories. It's a joy that keeps me hooked to the craft.

Lastly, when I get feedback from other, be it encouragement or constructive criticism, it feels good. I never want to take for granted that people are willing to spend precious time reading what I've written. It makes me want to keep doing it, as thanks to them.

7. Best book title you ever saw?

One of the best I've seen is A World Without Heroes by Brandon Mull. If you haven't read it, I highly recommend it. It's one of the most imaginative and original fantasies I've ever read, and I read a lot of fantasy.

8. Which character, out of all the ones you've created, is your favorite?

Do you also ask parents which child is their favorite? It is not a choice that can be made! I love ALL of my characters, from heroes to villains to everyone in the middle.

*sighs* But if I'm really forced to choose, it's a tie between Kayne from The Tournament of Convicts and Selah from Digital Pulse. Kayne is someone I very closely identify with. His struggles are mine, albeit exaggerated somewhat. I just get him. I also love his character arc in the story, even if it hurts my heart at times.

Selah--a personal assistant program--actually comes really close, though, and she only appeared when I did my Beautiful Books post back in November. So why do I like her so much? Because she's really different from anyone of my other brainchildren. She's very chipper and amusing much of the time; one of her quirks that I particularly enjoyed was her love of anime and references to it. But she's also very self-aware: she knows that she's programmed and that none of her emotions are real. It makes a very unique and interesting character to write.

9. What is your favorite video game of all time? (That was probably an evil question to ask. *cackles*)

Yes. Yes, it was. I'm very glad you realize this. BECAUSE HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO PICK JUST ONE?!

I'm going to list three of my top favorite games, because I cannot for the life of me narrow it down to one. I'll say The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Kirby's Return to Dream Land, and Mario & Luigi: Dream Team. These are many others on the list, but because Christine tried to make me pick one (*glares*), I'm doing the best I can.

10. If you could live in any video game world, which one would you pick?

Hyrule, hands-down. It's a fantasy world, so it's the obvious choice, right?

source; yes, it's post-apocalyptic in Breath of the Wild, but who cares? It's gorgeous!

Second choices would be either the Underground from Undertale or Dream Land in the Kirby franchise. But nothing can top Hyrule for me.

11. What is your Meyers-Briggs personality? (HA! I FOUND A WAY TO MAKE YOU TAKE THE TEST!!!)

*blinks* . . . Yes, Tracey, you did. (Forget about learning stuff about me; we're learning about my oldest sister today!)

So I took the test, and it turns out my Myers-Briggs personality is . . . *dramatic drumroll*

ENFJ-A! For those of you who don't know what that means, it stands for Extraverted, Intuitive, Feeling, Judging, and Assertive. That means I have what is called the Protagonist personality. While obviously not perfect, it describes me with great accuracy much of the time. Thanks, Tracey, for helping me understand myself just a little better today.

12. If you could describe your life in 5 words, what would they be?

Awesmazing. Satisfying. Fulfilling. Stretching. Epic. (I really had no idea what else to say.)

13. Have you seen HTTYD? If you have, who is your favorite character and dragon?

Obviously it's Hiccup and Toothless. Who else is there to pick? Besides Astrid, that is. But in my mind, the two main protagonists are the best.

14. What is your favorite color?

Green, like the outdoors after a nice rain!

source; take me to this place, please!

15. If you could have been cast as any character in any movie, who would you choose to be?

Well, I know you said movie, but I would love to be a villain in the LEGO Ninjago: Masters of Spinjitzu TV show. And I wouldn't want to be one from a previous season, because they've all been cast perfectly. I would want to be in a future season. It'd be so much fun to voice act a bad guy!

Or if a Legend of Zelda film was ever made, I'd so be on board for that.

16. What one object would you want to take into the Maze (from The Maze Runner)?

Jetpack, hands-down. Then all I gotta do is fly up out of that sucker and be free. Or maybe a particle accelerator, so that we can all become metahumans! Unless people would use their powers for evil purposes. That probably wouldn't end well. Or perhaps a portal gun from the Portal games . . . provided it could help me escape. One of those three will do quite nicely!

17. Top three movie fandoms?

Marvel, The Lord of the Rings, and Star Wars. BOOM! *drops mic*

18. What's your favorite season?

You know, it used to be winter. And while I still like winter--particularly things like Christmas and my birthday and sledding and taking walks during a snowfall--I actually have decided recently it's not my favorite. It'd be a toss-up between spring and fall, because I prefer weather that's not too hot and not too cold. It's the perfect time to go for walks, especially when it's raining. All in all, they're pretty good seasons!

19. How many full-length books have you written?

Ha ha ha. Ha ha ha! HA HA HA! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

ONE.

The Attack on Gotham, a superhero fanfiction that throws Marvel and DC characters together. I've been working on a novel-sized project since 2013, and I have a few novel projects in the works at various stages. But most of my stories are either novellas or unfinished. Tee hee . . . what a great author I am.

20. What is your least favorite color?

I just looked up "disgusting colors" on Google Images, and . . . I cannot unsee what I've seen. Y'know that pukey shade of green? Yeah, I hate that. Moving on!

21. What's your ultimate dream job?

In case you haven't guessed already, being a full-time author would be fabulous. I'd love to have that as my job, because . . . well, because I love writing! When a job can be something that you enjoy doing and that you're good at it, it's a dream job. It'd also be fun to work with kids or voice act on the side.

22. Which character of The Flash do you relate to the most?

I've never thought about this before. I'd have to say either Barry, Wally, or Cisco, but I'm not sure exactly who is my top choice. Probably Barry, but maybe that's because he's the main character. *shrugs* And if you haven't seen this show, you haven't lived yet. Seriously. I can't recommend it enough. I went into it fairly blindly and do not regret it.

23. Top three book fandoms?

Brandon Mull's Beyonders Trilogy, John Flanagan's books (like Ranger's Apprentice and Brotherband Chronicles), and all of Andrew Klavan's teen series. BOOM! *picks up mic, then drops it again*

24. If you had to live in a made-up world, which one would it be and why?

I'd choose the Message Boards Island from my story An Old Face, a New Game. It's an island with a friendly community, with lots of nature to explore and a quaint city to live in. It'd be one of those places you create that you wish actually existed so you could live there for the rest of your days. Please, someone make this happen!

25. If you could time travel and change one historical event for good, what would you do?

I would save Abraham Lincoln from being assassinated. I feel like the Reconstruction would've gone a lot better if he had still been president at the time. The butterfly effects on that would probably be huge, but I'd be curious to see where the US would be now.

source; in my opinion, this man was one of the best presidents in history.

26. Do people ever mispronounce any part of your name?

Yes, and quite frequently. I've been called Joshua multiple times, because people probably just read the first three letters and make an assumption. One of my college teachers pronounced my name as Jeziah for the whole year, and I didn't have the heart to correct him. I feel like someone has even called me Jehoshaphat or Jonathan or something. It's pretty crazy. But at least I'm named after a good, young king in the Bible! That's a plus, right?

27. What's your favorite instrument?

Hmm . . . I can't decide between piano or cello. But one of the two! I'm a huge sucker for strings and keys in music. You can tell that if you've listened to any of my playlists or a lot of songs that I love.


And that concludes part 1 of the #KnowJoe Q&A. Part 2 will come in a couple of weeks. Thanks for all the interesting questions; I hope you've enjoyed my answers! (And I hope I don't regret any of them in the future . . .)

Monday, January 08, 2018

The Music Monday 2017 Awards - Round 1

Welcome, ladies and gentlemen, to the first ever Music Monday 2017 Awards!


The Awards shall be taking place over the next several weeks, in which the top song of 2017 shall be decided through a few rounds of voting. Each round will be open for two weeks at a time. Any vote after said weeks shall be considered null and void.

In the first round, we will be voting to see which song is the best of each month. You may compare the tracks and vote on what you enjoy the most. Without further ado, let's begin!

July

"Imagine the Fire" from The Dark Knight Rises


versus "Ice of Phoenix" by Audiomachine


versus "First Steps Into Sunken Glades" from Ori and the Blind Forest


August

"If You Love These People" from Man of Steel


versus "Hanzo vs Genji" by J.T. Machinima


September

"In the Beginning" from The Bible


versus "Impossible (feat. Merethe Soltvedt)" by Two Steps From Hell


October

"So Far Away" by Gabriel Brown and Michelle Creber


versus "Eclipse (Extended Mix)" by MDK


November

"Cradle" from Spiral Knights


versus "A Closer Understanding of the Past" from Ori and the Blind Forest


December

"The Avengers" from The Avengers


versus "Carol of the Bells" remixed by The Living Tombstone


Now it is your turn! Choose a favorite for each month and vote in a comment! . . . Or multiple comments, if you so desire. Remember, the last day of voting is Sunday, January 21st. Once it is the 22nd, the votes will be counted.

Please, if you find it in you to do so, share this with your friends so that we can get as many votes as possible. And in case you're wondering, I will also be voting. If you have any objections to this, feel free to express them.

I look forward to seeing how this turns out. Enjoy all 13 of these great songs!

Friday, January 05, 2018

The Journey of Digital Pulse + My 2018 Writing Goals

So it's been a week since I submitted Digital Pulse, and now we have to wait three months before we see the results of the contest. While we twiddle our thumbs until April arrives, I've decided to share my writing journey for this particular story. It's been a rollercoaster, for sure, and it ended up being a lot better than I originally thought. I'm getting ahead of myself. Let's start at the beginning . . .

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It started way back--and by that, I mean a few years ago. It was around the time when I was writing, or had just finished writing, Darkened Slumber, my Sleeping Beauty retelling. I had decided that for the next two Rooglewood contests, I wanted a modern spy story and a sci-fi superhero mystery(ish) story. I had ideas for both of them: who their main characters would be, some of the tracks I would include in the playlist, a number of scenes that would take place, et cetera.

A year passed with no contest. That was fine by me, because I had others to do, from getting my first job to working on other projects. Then 2017 rolled around, and I found out that this contest would be the last. I had to choose between my two ideas. It wasn't too hard, though, because I wanted my spy story to be a retelling of either Rapunzel or The Little Mermaid. The unfortunate thing was I had fewer ideas for the superhero story.

I was confident that it wouldn't be too hard. I had determined to power through it and get it done in the summer. The first day I wrote was July 25th. I wouldn't write again until September 10th, and then until October 9th and 29th. Each time I wrote, I never did more than a couple hundred words.

My issue? A lack of inspiration. Every time I tried to get into the story, I didn't feel it. To be honest, I disliked it. My writing felt ugly and far too simplistic. This wasn't a tale worth entering.

The deadline loomed ever closer. I felt it peering over my shoulder, and I debated throwing in the towel. Digital Pulse was going nowhere fast. Perhaps it just wasn't meant to be. I didn't know what to do, or how to continue. I'd heard the advice that you need to write even when you don't feel like it, but trust me when I say that it's hard. I would sit there and despise every word I typed--or at least, I felt like it could be ten times better.

In a last-ditch attempt to get inspired, I did a Beautiful Books post on November 18th. Looking back now, I'm not sure what gave me the idea to do it. Perhaps it was the fact that Tracey had done a similar post earlier that week. Turns out it was the right thing to do. I left that post feeling ready to tackle my story and put a little skip in its step. I got ideas for new characters, including the "mirror," a personal assistant by the name of Selah. Honestly, she's up there in my list of favorite characters. Her upbeat nature, random comments, and witty remarks earn her a special place in my heart.

I also got some encouraging comments on that post, with people saying they liked the concept of the story. With that gust of wind in my sails, I returned to Digital Pulse on the 20th. While my word counts weren't spectacular for the most part, I was still writing on a consistent basis. Things were shaping up quite nicely. I had even come up with the majority of the story's events during one work shift.

Then December 9th happened.

I know I've mentioned a couple of times already how one of my friends left me, and I'm not going to go into great lengths about it again here. While it may be becoming a tired subject for you, I believe this event had a profound effect on my story. Before this had all happened, I had decided that the theme of my story could be summed up in two words: moving on. I talked of being strengthened by storms; now I had to take my own advice. I had to deal with this hurt and hardship, and find a way to regain my stride.

I refuse to spoil stuff that happens in Digital Pulse. But now that I look back at it, I see my struggle in those words. Is it exaggerated at times? Sure it is. That's what writers do on occasion--well, at least this writer. I want my readers to identify with my characters and their difficulties, so I exaggerate it to make it relatable to more people. (Does that make sense?)

The events that happened in December influenced the story, and I think that's why it was quite poignant for me sometimes. I recall very few times that my writing--or any story in general--that's brought me close to tears. But Digital Pulse did that twice. Chapter 14 is, in my mind, honestly one of the best scenes I've ever written, for reasons I can't disclose. Perhaps it's because I almost cried while writing/reading it.

December, while painful at times, turned out to be my best month for writing in the entire year. On the 28th, I wrote just over 3k, something I don't think I've ever done. The next day, I finished up the story, took a little break, then went back for editing. Well, it was more like a read-through, but it still helped. I found a few inconsistencies, fixed those, tweaked some wording (although I missed an unneeded word in one sentence), and before I knew it, I was finished. So I sent it off and could breath again.

But I left the story differently than I thought I would. I wasn't tired of writing. Far from it, actually. My mentality when I finished was, "I gotta work on another project!" While I haven't yet, you can bet I will, which is why I'm sharing my writing goals for the year.

Before I do that, I want to quickly mention I did something very different for Digital Pulse. I normally find tracks that inspire scenes in my story, and I compile them in a playlist. This time, I initially didn't have a clear vision of the story as a whole. I'd found tracks beforehand, and while I kept some, others didn't fit with the end product. So it was only once the story was over that I actually sat down and worked on the playlist. This is something I do when making playlists for other people's stories, but never for my own. I'm not sure if I prefer this method for my own writing . . . but I think I still ended up with a solid playlist.

source

Let's talk writing goals now. In college, I learned a good deal about SMART goals. SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely. Goals have to be these five things if you really want a chance to succeed. For example, if you say, "I'm going to lose weight this year," good for you! But I can tell you right away this resolution isn't lasting long. This isn't specific enough; you have to know how much weight you're planning on losing. You also need to make sure that number is a realistic one, and give yourself a proper timeline for achieving it. Otherwise you'll wait until the last minute (like I did with Digital Pulse), or you'll never do it.

So for 2018, I'm making goals for my writing, and I'm sharing them on here so I've got some accountability. My first goal is to reread A Totally Epic Pirate Story this month and decide if I want to finish it for closure's sake or if I want to leave it.

Once that's done, I will return to The Tournament of Convicts and keep writing that. I have pretty much the whole plot--most of it, anyway--in my head, so all I have to do is write. The deadline for completing it is the end of May.

After those two, I have to choose between continuing Maelstrom or beginning to novelize Darkened Slumber. I won't make that decision now, and I'm also not really putting a time on that right now. It may sound hypocritical, I know, but I want to focus more on the aspect of writing constantly rather than completion for the project this year. When 2019 rolls around, I can see where I'm at and go from there.

I'd also like to write more for An Old Face, a New Game by the end of the year. I'm saying at this point to write at least ten chapters. I'm working on a project with a friend of mine as well, called The Darkest Dawn. Again, no set deadlines on this because she's in school, and that would be unfair to her.

Every three months, I'm going to assess my goals on here and check on how things are going. That way, I can see my progress and tweak things if I have to. In January of 2019, I will examine the year as a whole and make new goals depending on how things went.

To wrap up this post, what did I learn from my writing this year, which mostly consisted of Digital Pulse?

  1. Inspiration may fall out of the sky and hit you on the head . . . or it may not. When it doesn't, go out and find it. Make it, if you have to.
  2. Writing frequently is the best way to get a project done, even if it's only a few hundred words at time.
  3. Challenge yourself to go farther than you have before. Stretch yourself. Always reach for something higher.
  4. Tragedy and pain in your life sucks. But you can still use it to strengthen your story, and through that, yourself.
  5. Don't wait until the last minute. It'll be more enjoyable if you have more time.
  6. Do more Beautiful People/Books posts! They help you picture your story and characters better, as well as get you out of a creative rut.

Well, I hope you all enjoyed this in-depth look at the journey that I took. Did you enter the Rooglewood contest? What're your thoughts on fairy tale retellings? Do you have writing goals--or any goals--for 2018?

Monday, January 01, 2018

Another Double Feature /// Monthly HapPENings: December + Music Monday #14

Well, folks . . . we lived through another year. Another 12 months. Another 52 weeks. Another 365 days. Another 8,760 hours. Another--well, you get the point by now. So happy New Year! 2018 is going to be a great year.

source

I decided to combine the two posts today because . . . why not? Gotta start off the year right! You guys don't mind long posts, do you? I thought not!

December was a mixed bag of emotions for me. I celebrated my birthday on the 1st, which was a lot of fun. Then the following week, I lost one of my closest online friends. It was really hard, and even writing about it now isn't easy. But God, in His good timing, reconnected me with two of my other close friends. I've had so much fun chatting with them, and it's helped get me back on my feet, emotionally speaking.

As always, the Christmas season was an enjoyable time for me. I love being able to hang out with my family and have some solid time with them. I got some great Christmas presents, such as a pair of headphones, The Temple of the Ultimate Ultimate Weapon (a set from The LEGO Ninjago Movie theme), NF's Mansion album, Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon, and other stuff. I also loved seeing my sisters react to the gifts I had given them.

Boxing Day is generally a day where I sit down and start building my LEGO, but that wasn't the case this year as I was working in the middle of the day. Unfortunately, my car battery died due to the extreme plummet in temperature, but fortunately, my dad was able to get me out of the fix. I was so thankful it happened on a shift that ended at 4, rather than one of my closing shifts where I leave after 9.

I hope you guys all had an amazing Christmas! Tell me what presents you got in the comments. I'd love to hear!

Bookish HapPENings

Guess what? I didn't finish any books this month. Shocking, isn't it? I did get some good writing in, so I'll blame it on that. But I hope to read at least a couple of books by the time I do a Monthly HapPENings post for January. I think that's easily doable.

HapPENings on the Screen


I definitely have to say that Season 3 of Once is my favorite so far. It's taken a serious turn, almost as if they put two mini-seasons into one . . . but I don't mind. I'm looking forward to seeing where this all goes, and I loving adding my own commentary to the episodes. Though I don't know if my sisters love it or are annoyed by it.


Why, oh why, do I only have eight episodes left? What am I supposed to do to tie me over until Season 4 is released on DVD?! (I'll probably rewatch the first three seasons.) Things are heating up, situations are looking EXTREMELY bad for the characters, and at this point, the villain seems unbeatable. It's hard to contain myself to one episode a week . . .

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The first three Pirates movies all required me to watch them a second viewing in order for me to fully grasp the plot and the characters' motivations. The fourth movie felt a lot more straightforward. I had seen the majority of it before, but I hadn't been able to finish it at the time. I don't remember my comprehension of the story at the time, but whatever the case, I had no difficulty following along this time around. While it wasn't my favorite installment in the series (At World's End still holds that place for me), it was very enjoyable. The mermaids could've been worse, but I still would have appreciated a bit more clothing, especially when Syrena lost her tail. I still highly recommend not only this movie, but the franchise as a whole! Just make sure you watch them at least twice.

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I wasn't sure what to expect from this movie. I loved Cars, a heartwarming story of a guy who learned to actually care about other people. Cars 2 was an action-packed flick about one of my favorite characters, Mater. Planes felt a little too similar to Cars, but in the end, I still really enjoyed it. Planes: Fire and Rescue was disappointing, and I started to wonder if the franchise was dragging on too long. But Cars 3 proved me wrong. It paid just enough homage to the first film while throwing in some twists and great new characters. If you haven't seen it yet because you too are unsure of it, I suggest giving it a try. It just might surprise you.

Gaming HapPENings

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I played a lot New Leaf - Welcome amiibo this month. It's such a relaxing game; it's really easy to blow an hour on it and not even realize it. If you've never played an Animal Crossing game before, you should really pick one up.

The highlight for me this month was Toy Day (our Christmas Eve). As mayor of my town, which I have named Kakariko, I have the honor of figuring out what everyone wants from Jingle the black-nosed reindeer. If I give everyone the right presents, I get a special prize! I couldn't pass that up, so I began making a list on my phone. I was serious about this . . . but not serious enough, it seems.

A very important detail I forgot was that I have to dress up as Santa. The clothes shop sold this costume, with one piece a day (from my understanding). But I didn't remember this until the day before Toy Day. And when I went on the next day in hopes of being able to buy the outfit, the clothing store was already closed. So my list was all for nothing.

Good thing there's always next year!

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In case you haven't heard, Spiral Knights is a free-to-play MMOG on Steam. Trust me when I say I would happily pay for this game. In the same vein as one of my all-time favorite games, LEGO Universe, this game offers everything from an appealing design to cool electronic/retro-ish music to a variety of monsters to an ever-changing battlefield.

I rediscovered this game when I suggested it to one of my abovementioned friends. We've played it together a few times, and I've had a blast each time. If you have a Steam account, you have no reason to not download this. If you don't have an account, make one and then get the game! It's a lot of fun, and I will happily play with you if you so desire.

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So my youngest two sisters and I bought The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild for our Wii U. I have played six hours of it over the past five days, and I do not regret the $90 we paid for it. THIS GAME IS SO BRICKING UNBELIEVABLE! Not only have I never played a game like this before, but it's such a unique Zelda game. I have to contain myself, or we'll be here all day with me just blabbering about this game. Instead, let me share with you an experience I had yesterday . . . a battle with a giant rock monster known as a Stone Talus.

There I was, wandering through the ruins of a town, which was submerged in a low layer of water. I see a big ol' rock, and I was like, "Ooh, look, a big ol' rock!" Naturally, I gravitate toward these types of things. But as I approach it, the rock suddenly starts lifting off the ground. I beat a hasty retreat, because this bad boy was equipped with limbs! It threw one of its arms and killed me instantly.

"Well, now it won't catch me off-guard!" It had a weak point on its back: a giant lump of ore. I used all five of my bomb arrows and dealt quite a bit of damage to Rocky McMuffin. But now I had to finish it off, and regular arrows are no good. So I start chucking bombs at it. I'm slowly dwindling its health down while (mostly) avoiding its attacks and eating food to heal up.

But then, it got me with a blow that almost killed me. My logic dictated that, since I had just saved, I should run into the guy and let it finish me off so I could start afresh. Before my sisters could protest, I died. And what happened next? Wanna guess?

The battle reset, with the Stone Talus having full health and me having less food and no bomb arrows. I swore to exact my revenge on the monster in the future and ran off. Good thing I didn't kill it, because soon after there was a Blood Moon, which revives all enemies that you've defeated.

But all that time, I never realized that in this game, Link can climb anything. I was fighting a rock monster. I could've climbed it when it was down and dealt more damage! Guess I'll just do better next time I encounter another Rocky McMuffin.

Writerly HapPENings

Yes, it happened. By some miracle, it happened. On Friday, December 30th, at 1:34 in the afternoon, I submitted Digital Pulse to Rooglewood. Hallelujah! My word count for the month totalled . . .

12,998 words! In one month! I can't recall the last time I did so good. The story ended up being 81 pages, or 18,129 words long. I'm actually proud of the way it turned out. But I won't talk about it too much now. You can expect a post in the future chronicling my writing journey with this retelling.


Today's song is . . .

"Snowy Fields" from Kirby's Epic Yarn
Composed by Tomoya Tomita


Not only is this game one of my favorite Kirby installments of all time because of its quaint atmosphere and uniqueness, but it also has got some great tunes! This track is one of my favorites from the game.

It sounds very festive and wintery, and evokes images of snowy walks, hot chocolate, and family time. The cheerful tone of it all puts a smile on your face--well, at least it put one on mine. And honestly, when I have a girlfriend one day, I want to take a walk with her while this song plays in the background.

. . . I have no idea why I just said that, but I'll keep it in here.

Well, we've rung in the New Year fantastically on my blog, methinks. I hope you all enjoy the rest of the day and the rest of the year. I've got some great stuff planned this month, including the Music Monday 2017 Awards, which kicks off next Monday. You won't want to miss it.

Once again, happy New Year! What'd you get for Christmas? How was your December? Did you stay up until midnight? Did you enjoy today's track? Would you listen to it while walking with your significant other? (Don't pretend that you wouldn't! I'll know that you're lying.)