So, this past weekend, I awoke to find that Lost to the Aether had been nominated for the Liebster Award by the illustrious Mental Gaming, writer of intelligent things in regards to video games, as you may be able to guess. “Finally!” thought I. “A chance to show off on the grandest stage of them all!” So I prepared my acceptance speech, had my suit pressed, and made sure to get my alluring gaze down just the way I wanted it. Of course, it wasn’t until I had already done all that when it occurred to me to wonder, “What exactly is the Liebster Award?” Well, it turns out the Liebster Award doesn’t, in fact, have a massive televised awards gala in which I would be the center of attention all night long. I know, I know, I was fooled too.
The nature of the Liebster Award becomes pretty apparent when we take a look at the rules. As they were passed onto me, they are:
First, Thank the Liebster Blog presenter who nominated you and link back to their blog.
Second, Post 11 facts about yourself, answer the 11 questions you were asked, and create 11 questions for your nominees.
Third, Nominate 11 blogs whom you feel deserve to be noticed, and leave a comment on their blog to let them know about the nomination.
Display the Liebster award logo
And finally, you can’t nominate a blog that’s already been nominated before.
“Wait a minute,” I hear you say. “That sounds just like one of those Facebook/email memes!” Well, that’s partially right. As far as I can tell, people have been posting about the Liebster Award since late 2010. There’s a couple different strands of Liebster Award posts out there, with slightly different rules between them. Some of the strands have people simply passing on nominations, while others have bloggers actually giving these awards to other bloggers. But I think the biggest clue as to the nature of the award comes from its name. ‘Liebster’ is German for something along the lines of ‘dearest’ or ‘friend’, and that sentiment seems to be what’s intended for these bloggers to be awarding each other.
So what is the Liebster Award, exactly? It’s an excellent way for us small time bloggers to get to know each other, that’s what. Let’s do this!
I’ve already linked him above, but just in case you missed it, check out Mental Gaming here. He writes about video games, and has some really well-thought out points about both individual games as well as the trends of the industry as a whole. And thank you, Mental Gaming, for your nomination. I really appreciate it 🙂
Eleven things about myself. Hmm… I’m really tempted to just write eleven things about my physical appearance, but you guys have to hear me bragging about my beauty every other post, so maybe I’ll give you guys a break here.
- I have a fairly large ego on account of my incredible good looks okay you guys can at least let me have one!!!
- I drive one of these: Yes, it is just as weird as it looks.
- I haven’t done any traditional sit-down-at-the-computer writing for a couple months. I’ve been trying to learn to draw better for a couple of years, and it’s been cutting into my writing time. This past year, I decided to combine my drawing and writing time by creating a comic, and I’ve been working on that more than any other creative endeavor recently.
- Though I identify as left-handed, I’m probably closer to being cross-dominant than anything else. My left hand is more precise, but I have more strength in my right. I tend to mix between my preferred hand depending on whatever activity I’m doing.
- I really enjoy wine.
- I wear jewelry more often than most men. I’ve got pierced ears, I regularly wear pendants and necklaces, and I commonly wear bracelets and wristbands when going out. I hate wearing rings, however. They just never feel right on me.
- I love to dance, although most people would probably tell you I’m not very good at it.
- I am half-man, half-tiger. The tiger half’s probably magic or something, so I could be a wizard too. And there’s a very good chance that the tiger’s some sort of Sacred Beast. Also, I’m likely the last of my line, and I’m planning on being the patriarch of the Next Great Warrior Race. What I’m saying is, if there comes a time when the world’s needing to be saved, and you are traveling across the land picking up all the characters with unique skills and backgrounds you find, I might be a good person to have in your party.
- I like faeries. Manly as I am, it’s true. I always insisted on playing Oberon whenever it came time for the school performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
- I live in an alpine desert. My hometown often makes the state news for being the coldest place in the United States on any particular winter day, even more so than Alaska.
- I overloaded my schedule and took summer classes in order to get through college in three years rather than four. Once I realized graduation was upon me, I immediately regretted that course of action.
And now, Mental Gaming’s got some questions for me.
1. One common food that you can’t stand?
Peaches. Freaking peaches. I can’t stomach them, I can’t bear the smell, and even the thought of putting one in my mouth is causing me to gag as I write this. Peaches are the devil’s ovaries, and I hate everyone I see eating them just a little bit more.
2. Least favorite book you’ve ever read? Why didn’t you like it?
It was one of the later books in the Sword of Truth series. Phantom, I think? Terry Goodkind is an excellent world-builder and can be a good writer, but over the course of the series it becomes clear he really needs to be reigned in to do his best work and it seemed that his editors were pretty much letting him have free reign. I really enjoyed the early books in the series, but Goodkind’s problems with writing seemed to get worse and worse as it went on. He’s really given to extremely lavish descriptions, which can be good when used correctly, but it has a tendency to really slow down the plot in his later books. Still, I had stuck it out that far, although my endurance stretched thin, when a second major writing problem of his just broke things for me. Goodkind has a tendency to just have the two major characters be unquestionably morally right all the time, and has a habit of using them as a mouthpiece for whatever philosophy’s on his mind in spite of how badly it may mesh with the story. In this case, he had the main character explain how stupid and unreasonable it was to believe in an afterlife because there’s no possible way anyone would have any evidence of it. This is in spite of the fact that this same character had spoken several times in the past to the souls of the dead, and has at least twice traveled to the world of the afterlife and back. Moreover, one of the big villains of the story was the ruler of that afterlife, and one of the people the main character was explaining this too, who accepted his explanation without complaint, had not only communicated with that ruler but got her powers from him. That moment, I felt, showed such disrespect to the books’ own continuity and the story that had been built up so far that I just couldn’t take it anymore.
3. Why’d you decide to start blogging? What motivates you to continue blogging?
That’s a good question. I’ve long enjoyed producing content for the internet; it makes me feel like I’m balancing the scales for all the lurking I do. However, usually I’ve done that through other people’s sites. I’ve written several articles for various game sites around the web, participated in a couple different forums, and was even an administrator and was instrumental in building up what is now a very large roleplay forum. I’d been nursing the idea of having a site to myself, one where I’d own all the content I produced, for a while, but was never really confident in my ability to strike out on my own yet still reach an audience.
Then I did a series of ludicrously manly cooking posts on Facebook, and all of a sudden a good number of my friends were nagging me endlessly to start a blog so I could post more of that kind of thing. I hadn’t intended to be doing anything like that this year, I knew it was going to be a bad one as far as time goes, but they were both relentless and encouraging, so I ended up diving in. Of course, I immediately started producing a different kind of content, so now almost none of the people who originally wanted me to have a blog are following this, but I’m still glad I took the plunge.
As far as what motivates me now, I just enjoy creating. I’ve got a small audience here, one I truly appreciate, and that helps with the motivation, but it’s the fun in writing posts that keep me going. My schedule has been making it so I can’t write as often as I like, and when I do have the opportunity, I have to choose between this and other projects, but I find creating for this blog to be really rewarding. Even the posts that aren’t that popular, like my visual novel work. Writing for this blog has given me the opportunity to write the types of things I never have before, and that’s something I value. It’s also giving me experience in a whole new type of writing. I’ve done a lot of creative writing, and a lot of official work-based writing, but I’ve rarely had an opportunity to do the kind of personality-based writing of the type seen on this blog, and while I think I’m still finding my voice here, I really value the opportunities to stretch my skills.
4. What’s one hobby that you used to do, but don’t do anymore?
Music. I started playing the clarinet when I was eleven years old, and kept it up through college. I was really good at it, too. I made the all-state band a couple of times, I was section leader in a state champion marching band, and I got to play a solo in a concert at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Ireland, among others. Music made up a huge part of my life. I had picked up a couple other instruments both inside and outside the school band, nearly all my friends were musicians, and I was more committed to the school band than I was the rest of my classes.
College ruined it for me, though. I was pursuing a business major, and ended up going to a college with a quality business school but a subpar music program. I had sold off most of my instruments to raise money to attend, leaving me with just the clarinet and the college band classes I took as electives my sole musical outlet. And the band classes were so bad. They had just lost their long-time instructor the year I joined, and went through a couple during the years I was there. During football season, the main band class was entirely devoted to providing half-time entertainment for the college games. Outside of football season, the music was just not challenging. Most of the pieces we played were honestly a step down from what I performed in high school. I almost never practiced outside of class, yet I still had no problem with the music we played. Moreover, because I was usually first chair, but not a music major, I went through a lot of resentment from both the other students and the music faculty. The band director usually liked me, which is probably why I managed to be first chair as long as I was, but I know the jazz and vocal directors, for some reason, were really set against me.
The combination of those factors in college just drove the love of music out of me, and I haven’t played anything since graduation. I’ve been meaning to fix that, and have had my eye on an electric piano for a while, but I’ve never been able to muster up enough money to justify buying it.
5. Favorite cooking disaster story? (Doesn’t have to yours, just the best one you know of)
I was over at a ladyfriend’s place for dinner, and she was making corn cakes. The recipe called for baking powder, but she mixed it up and used baking soda instead. Apparently those are two very different things. We didn’t notice anything was wrong until we bit into them, and they tasted just like bitter, burned baking soda. There were other ingredients in there, I’m sure, but the baking soda taste overpowered everything. To this day, I can still taste it in the back of my mouth when I think about it.
6. If you could choose to read/write fluently in a foreign language of your choice, or you could speak fluently in it, but not both, which would you choose? And which language?
I’d say speak fluently, and Japanese. Outside of English entertainment, I probably consume Japanese entertainment more than anything else, so speaking Japanese would open up more options for me on that front.
7. Favorite fictional character?
D, from Vampire Hunter D.
And honestly, I don’t know why. D’s a total Mary Sue character. A well-written Mary Sue, but a Mary Sue nonetheless. He can fix most everything, can conquer any obstacle without much justification, and can beat most anybody in a fight no matter how disadvantaged he is. While he does develop and show a bit of his rounding over the course of the novels, it’s a really slow process, and 17 books in he’s not that much different than he was at the start.
I’m sure part of it is nostalgia. Another part is that he fits so perfectly with the world of the series, especially the novels. Also, he’s just really cool.
8. A song that you’re embarassed of when others catch you listening to it?
Eh, I don’t really get embarrassed by my entertainment choices anymore. If I like something, I like something, and if it doesn’t fit in with the social consciousness than that’s their problem. The closest thing would probably be anything dubstep. I enjoy some dubstep, but anytime anyone else catches me listening to it they always seem to call on me to explain what I see in it.
9. One place you want to go in the next 5 years?
Aww, I only get one place? Hmm… I’ve been idly thinking out trips to England, Japan, and Australia for a while. I’d say one of those.
10. One thing you love that a lot of people hate? (Or vice-versa?)
The Metal Gear series. I like the gameplay, I like the atmosphere, I like the cheesiness, and I like the twisty turny conspiracy plots that try way too hard. I don’t think I enjoy them on the same level as the traditional Metal Gear fan, but I still have a lot of fun with them.
11. Have a unique mannerism?
I crouch a bit at the knees when I walk. I just find it easier to walk that way. I’ll also often put my hands into fists when I don’t have anything else to do with them, rather than just letting them hang there.
And… that’s that. Now, I’ll just need to figure who I’m going to pass this award along to…
Love this. To be completely honest, I hadn’t been certain whether the questions I posed would yield interesting answers, but I loved reading your responses and explanations.
On a random note, your remark about D from Vampire Hunter made me realize something. Do you read/watch the manga/anime Black Butler (Kuroshitsuji)? I utterly love the character Sebastian in it, and reading your answer, I realized that he’s also a mary sue. Well-written, lovable, and in possession of some (superfluous) limitations, but still a mary sue.
What’s Vampire Hunter about? Once I finish watching/reading Black Butler (the manga and anime differ greatly), I don’t know what I’ll move onto. Is it fun?
No, I haven’t read or seen Black Butler. It’s always been on the periphery; I keep seeing it’s name pop up in relation to the stuff I do follow, but I’ve never made the plunge into it myself. Would you say it’s worth looking into?
There have to be some good ways to handle Mary Sue characters. After all, Superman’s a Mary Sue himself, yet he’s one of America’s most beloved fictional characters. I suppose it all depends on the nature of the story. I’m not sure how things would work in Sebastian’s case, but with D, I figure it works because his activities are just presented matter-of-factly. The author’s not going out of his way to make you think D’s cool or badass or whatever, he just does what he does and it’s up to you to figure out how to feel about it. The author’s not trying to force your feelings about the character, so it doesn’t emphasize the difference between what you’re getting from him and what the author wants you to think about him.
Vampire Hunter D… the closest I can describe it is as a gothic horror western. It’s set in the year 12,000 A.D., so you’ve got some pieces of high technology around but for the most part, humanity lives in old west-style frontier towns and cultures. The story centers around D, the half-vampire bounty hunter, as he travels to various towns and ends whatever vampire-related problems they may have. It’s big on atmosphere and world-building, and the author’s a huge classic horror movie buff, so the series shares a lot of it’s style with the old black and white horror films. So far, there’s 20 or so light novels, two anime movies, and 6 manga volumes in the series. The first movie’s decent, but it was one of the first anime films to come out in the states and it definitely shows it’s age. The second film, Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust, is an excellent work and if you’re interested in the series, I’d recommend starting there. The manga has some interesting artwork but never really grabbed me. The light novels are what I’ve really fallen into in the series, especially the earlier ones. I’m not sure if I’d describe them as ‘fun’, they’re a little to gory and hold too many dour endings for that. They’re still good reads, though, and the franchise is one of my favorites.
Vampire Hunter seems interesting. If it’s really gory, I’m not sure it sounds like something I’d fall into, but we’ll see.
Black Butler is a manga/anime set in Victorian England, following a 12-year-old Earl, Ciel Phantomhive. The Phantomhive family is known as the Queen’s guard dog – they manage the criminal underworld, stepping in on the Queen’s orders or when things get too extreme. Ciel also seeks vengeance on the people who burned down his family manor, killing his parents inside, and sold into human trafficking.
Sebastian is merely one *hell* of a butler.
The manga and anime differ greatly in terms of storyline. The manga is supposedly better. The first season of the anime is great, but apparently Season 2 is…completely mental. If it sounds interesting to you, Netflix has the first season on watch instantly, and scanlated manga chapters are always available online. I’m in love with it right now. Black Butler has an alluring personality, once you watch the first 2-3 episodes.
My sister is left handed. When we visited Mother Shipton’s Cave the tour guide told her that back in the day she would have been burnt as a witch. She wasn’t amused… luckily for him she didn’t turn him into a frog.
It’s like the early bits of X-men. We’ve got a mutation that makes us superior, and the rest of the world just can’t handle it.