Blogger Recognition Award

There was supposed to be another post here.  But I’m heading into one of those periods of life where time is at a premium.  So plans change.  But luckily, like a dreamy superhero, AK swooped in to save the day, nominating us for one of those social viral blog awards, providing a quick shot of easy content just when I needed it the most.  He may not be the hero we deserve, but he’s the hero we need.

And in an interesting twist, this is not an award I’d ever received before.  Which is strange.  I thought I’d gotten all of them already.  But no matter.  This blog’s path of award domination shall continue unabated.  Watch in awe, dear fellows, as I crush this award and all else in my path!

So, let us start by examining the rules that are foolish enough to challenge me.

  1. Say thanks to who nominated you and leave a link back to that person’s blog.

So, thanks to AK, of the gaming and other stuff blog, Everything is Bad for You.  You should check his work out.  If you’ve been around here for any length of time, you know I love writing long-form looks into the media I consume, and judging by the massive Disgaia post he’s sitting on top of at the time of this writing, he loves the same thing.  I find him to have some rather thoughtful takes on his chosen subjects, and he’s opened my eyes to some interesting things I wouldn’t have known otherwise.  He’s also been a common influence around these parts, both with his thoughtful comments and his other blog awards.  In recognition of his contributions, and in return for this award, I hereby bestow upon him the much coveted “Friend of Aether” award.  You may all commence your bowing now.

  1. Give the story or history of your blog.

So, here’s the thing; I don’t have a real big reason or anything why I started this blog.  There were a bunch of influencing factors.  I was following and a regular commenter on a bunch of other blogs, and kind of wanted to do that myself.  I had done a bunch of dumb posts on Facebook basically hyping up my cooking in a really over-the-top way, and a lot of people who read those kept getting after me about starting a blog.  And, historically, I’d been involved in a lot of forums, but had kind of stopped getting much out of those.  And really, I was at a point where I really wanted to reach out of myself, and do something that connected with other people.  So it had been on my mind for quite a while.

I do remember deciding to take the plunge and actually start with it after one of the many, many games industry controversies happened, and there was nothing coming out about it that really reflected my thoughts on the issue.  I don’t even remember what it was, but I do remember that feeling.  Beforehand, I had been carrying the assumption that anything I had to say would have been said already by any of the millions of other journalists, bloggers, commenters, or video makers covering the industry, that there was no original thought under the sun.  And yet, there I was, with some particularly strong point of view that nobody else seemed to have.  So I thought there was room for me on the internet yet.  So I created this.

And this is a bit of an odd blog, isn’t it?  I mean yeah, there’s a lot of games content here, but really I just talk about whatever I want to.  And it’s kind of always been like that.  I used to think my niche was business analysis of the game industry, and sure, there’s still some of that.  But sometimes it’s amused me to muse about writing.  Sometimes I posted a small bit of that graphic novel I was practicing my art skills with.  Sometimes I write about wrestling.  Sometimes I do lets plays.  Sometimes I start up huge projects that I don’t see through.  Sometimes I get in deep with Godzilla.  This blog has no focus.  And that’s the way I like it.

  1. Give two or more pieces of advice for new bloggers.

Write for yourself.  Write what you enjoy, write what gives you meaning, write what makes your life better.  If you’re writing to pursue views, you’re likely to end up unfulfilled.  If you’re writing to try and make a buck off of it, you’re likely going to end up hating what you’re creating and getting less income off of more work than if you took that effort and put it elsewhere.  This is a hobby that takes an extensive amount of time, and a lot of thought, and a lot of your personality, and if you’re putting all that into it and you’re writing for something other than yourself, it’s not going to be worth it to you.

And be social with it.  I didn’t expect it at first, I was one of those ‘If I build it they will come’ people, but honestly one of the best parts, and one of the things that really keep me going, is engaging with my fellow bloggers.  Again, time is at a premium for me, so I can’t spend as much time reading and commenting and discussing as I would really like, and I’m not necessarily the market for every other blogger that comes across here, but what I can do does honestly make this whole experiment more worthwhile.  Connecting with my fellow bloggers is meaningful, and I wouldn’t still be doing this if it didn’t happen.

  1. Nominate 10 other bloggers and link their blogs.

Guess what?  I don’t play by your rules.  No, I think I’m so great, and I deserve this award so much, that I’m just going to nominate myself 10 times.  So take that, blogosphere.

But seriously, thanks to AK for opening up this content, thanks to all of you for being here, and I look forward to seeing y’all when our paths cross again.

The Sunshine Blogger Award

So, as we mentioned last time around, in addition to the Mystery Blogger award from Red Metal, we were nominated for the Sunshine Blogger award by master of the mental science, bloggess extraordinaire, and dominator of the post-apocalyptic wasteland, Athena. Ran out of time to get my response together for that last week, so let’s address that now.

Rules for the Sunshine Blogger award are:

Thank blogger(s) who nominated you in a blog post and link back to their blog.

Athena is a woman of impeccable taste and decision-making. And also she likes Dragon Age. Thank you very much, Athena, for this recognition. I appreciate your consideration.

Answer the 11 questions the blogger asked you.

Questions are:

1. If you could change one thing about AAA gaming, what would it be?

This is one of those somewhat trendy business management things, but I would increase the focus on Human-Centered Design. For a quick 101-level summary, the philosophy there is that generally, there’s three directions most people start from when designing a new product. There’s the business side, which seeks to build things that are economically viable, the practical side, which builds things you’re capable of doing, and the human side, which builds things that people want to use. Any product you release has to satisfy elements of all three spheres to be successful, but when you’re just in the early stages, planning things out, you typically start in one of those spheres mentally and move into the others after you’ve started prototyping and actually testing those projects out. Whichever one you start with has the biggest influence on what shape the product tapes. I get the feeling that a lot of AAA gaming starts more in the sphere of seeking financial viability rather than something that’s going to have an impact on the end user, and I’d like to see that shift.

2. Do you think pineapple belongs on pizza?

Absolutely. Pineapple and onion pizza is one of my favorites.

3. Is there an article on your site that you would write differently, knowing what you know now? Which one?

Eh, don’t think so. I can’t think of anything I’ve written that I wouldn’t stand by. Some of them I’d have plenty to add to, my opinions might have changed on a few, but I can’t think of any that I’d re-write.

My post about being unable to identify as a player in my professional life, though, I feel that one I’d have the most to add to with the way time has shaped up.

4. What’s the weather like near you today?

Warm and sunny. Which has been the case most winter. And that’s a problem. I live in an area where the economy strongly relies on the ski industry. So while parts of the country has been absolutely dumped on, we’ve been pretty dry. Our slopes have spent a lot of the season green. Without snow, we haven’t been getting our usual tourists, which has slowed the economy, which has made my job in workforce development a bit more interesting than usual.

5. Do you like pancakes or waffles better?

Waffles, typically. Evenly cooked all over, crispy instead of floppy? Yes please. Pancakes are good too, though.

6. Is there anything about your gaming hobby/habits that you don’t like?

The time available, mostly. As I mentioned in my last post, I am a multi-faceted individual, with multiple interests and responsibilities, and it’s hard to fit them all into a given day. It’s usually not until 9:00 p.m. That I’m able to start playing something, and I’ve only got a few hours to spare for my favorite pasttime. Even then, I often find myself combining activities, such as playing and exercising or playing and listening to something at the same time, if the game is of a kind to allow for that, just to fit in everything I want to before the day’s over. It’d be nice to have a few more hours added to each day so I can deal with that.

7. Do you have a preference between JRPGs and western RPGs?

No. I don’t typically think in terms of genre much, but both can deliver absolutely fantastic experiences. I feel like there’s a lot more half-assed JRPGs than WRPGs out there, but if you reach the heights of both, both genres can be great, and they can be great in very different ways. What I’ll play really depends on my mood.

8. When does an open-world game begin to suffer from open-world bloat?

I think it’s really a factor of time and engagement. When you’re spending a noticeable amount of time doing things that you just check out from, such as travelling through an empty and uninteresting locale, grinding boars for your quest to collect 20 pig asses to craft your Sword of Pork Butt, *ahem combat in Planescape Torment cough cough*, and you’re not actually paying full attention to any of it, I would say that that’s when open-world bloat starts to kick in. Experiences should be engaging. They should cycle mental energy through you. When they stop doing that, when you’re just checking the boxes and checking out, that’s when they start losing you.

9. What is the most memorable line of dialogue in a game?

I’m not a big quotes guy, but I am rather fond of “Are you a bad enough dude to rescue the president?”

No? You want something meaningful? How about Tales of Phantasia’s “If there is evil in this world, it lurks in the hearts of man.”

Still not satisfied? Fine, bonus round. “Only a jackass can change the world.” Probably my favorite moment from Final Fantasy X-2.

10. Quick! You have 3 seconds to grab one game from your collection. Which one to do you grab and why?

3 seconds?! Oh no, what am I… Persona 4. That’s also my desert island game, my game that describes me, my 8th degree of Kevin Bacon, etc. I think everybody has a work that truly means something to them. That’s special to them, no matter what the quality is. That there’s a connection there beyond just the work itself. Persona 4 is that for me, for reasons I went over in my last post. Persona 4 is my game of games.   It’s the one where context has transcended context, and it has touched me and my life in a way few others have.

11. Do you collect anything? What is it?
Can you collect memories? If so, that’s it for me. I enjoy novelty, building up new experiences, trying new things out. I am more apt to do something if it gives me something new to learn or an experience I hadn’t tried before. There’s a lot to life, and although I’m never going to experience even a fraction of it, I would like to build up as much experience as I can.

Nominate 11 new blogs to receive the award and write them 11 new questions.

Again, nah. I’m just not that social. I don’t think I even have eleven friends. And all the people I would nominate either don’t really jive with the social awards or they’ve gotten one recently because we’re all part of the same circle. Sorry.

List the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Award logo in your post and/or on your blog.
I don’t know what the award logo is. A quick Google Search shows about a hundred different logos. So you know what? Here:


And that’s me!  I hope you all enjoyed me talking about myself as much as I did.  And it was a lovely break over a week when I spend half of it away from my writing computer.  We’ll be back with our regularly scheduled content in the near future.


The Mystery Blogger Award

This post could have been a couple things. A bit about how I tried and utterly failed to every one of our Fallout decision makers. Something reflecting on Planescape Torment’s unfortunate case of bipolar disorder. I could have finally publicly published one of the hundreds of posts sitting in my blog folder extolling the virtues of my hair. But, well, I’m a pleaser. I can’t help it. Just ask your girlfriend. I like leaving the people around me better off. And when those people around me combine that impulse with my natural enjoyment of talking about myself, well, I just can’t help it.

We’ve been touched by those viral get-to-know-you blogging awards again. You may remember our adventures with these in the past, when we were given the Double Lovely Versatile Liebster award. Well, that’s been expanded by not just one, but two steps. First, Red Metal was kind enough to send us over a Mystery Blogger award, thus guaranteeing we’d have easy content ready to go the next time a week got ahead of us. I was holding on to that in my back pocket, waiting for the most opportune time to slip that into my draw, but then Athena raises the stakes with by calling us for the Sunshine Blogger award, and, well, now it’s time for those cards to be on the table. I am nothing if not efficient, so let’s take care of both of those at once here.

Thank you both Red Metal and Athena. I appreciate your interest in opening up humble old me, the kindness you showed in your nominations and giving me the opportunity to talk about my favorite subject, myself.

Let’s start with Red Metal’s Mystery Blogger Award. Step by step, the rules are

  • Put the award logo/image on your blog.

You know what, let’s do that, but with a twist.

  • List the rules.

Check, got it. Man, I’m the best at this.

  • Thank whoever nominated you and provide a link to their blog.

Done already. But again, thank you Red Metal. If you’ve been around for most any length of time, you’ve seen him around in the comments at the very least. Dude’s one of my favorite game reviewers, and takes a pretty in-depth look at whatever catches his fancy on the regular. Check him out.

  • Mention the creator of the award and provide a link as well.

Methinks that one Okoto Enigma maybe started up this award as a means to Google Bomb themselves. But oh well. I won’t hold it against them. With a quick glance at their blog, they’ve got absolutely no crossover with what we talk about here, so, don’t know that you’d be interested, but just for the webcrawlers, here’s their site.  I chose a random post there, just to make the stats the get a little more random.

  • Tell your readers 3 things about yourself.
  1. Like many people, video gaming is just one of my too many interests. It’s the one I’ve kept up with the longest, and devote the most mental space to, but I’ve got a too long list of things I keep up with, such as comic books, physical fitness, men’s style, art, New Japan Pro Wrestling, wine, my hair, and so on. Makes my days a little too full. I’ve kept most of them from here, because, although I consider this more an Aether’s Interest blog than a video games blog, I want to have at least a little consistency, but I’ve noticed some of that popping into a few of the examples or analogies I may use.
  2. I fantasize about leading a band, but I haven’t actually picked up an instrument in years.
  3. I think of myself as pretty socially adept. I can hold my own in a conversation, use my network well, get people talking with ease, etc. Put me in front of a room of people, even, and I’ll thrive. I’ve got this huge block when it comes to approaching people, though. I don’t understand it myself. When I’ve got an in to a conversation, it’s easy. When I’m introduced by someone else, fine. But I just can’t figure out how to put myself out there like that. Social stuff is weird.
  • You have to nominate 10 – 20 people.

Nah. That involves approaching people, and see number 3 above. Also, I have a pretty small blogging circle, and most of those whom I would nominate either received a similar viral award recently or choose not to play along with these.

So here’s an inoculation against the viral spread, I guess.

  • Notify your nominees by commenting on their blog.

Okay, done.

  • Ask your nominees any 5 questions of your choice; with one weird or funny

Here’s Red Metal’s questions:

Which game proved to be the biggest disappointment for you?

Justice League Task Force. When I was a kid, had a lot of fun with fighting games, loved superheroes, this seemed really interesting from the magazines, a perfect fight. Then I rented it, and it played like garbage. Slow, clumsy, special moves were really unreliable, just not a good experience. I’m sure I’ve been more disappointed by games since, but I remember this one because it was my first learning experience that not all games will live up to my excitement.

Which game proved to be the most pleasant surprise for you?

Persona 4. But this one’s going to take a bit of a story.

Around the time I picked this game up, I was in a weird place in life. Part of that led to me just not enjoying things, including video games, as much. Part of that was just general malaise, but part of that was that it was a lot easier to see the worst in everything than it was the good. And my gaming habits were hitting that wall hard. I was starting to think the whole medium had peaked, and was on its way down in quality. I had been considering giving it up.

I don’t remember why I had picked up Persona 4. I didn’t know anything about it, other than that Persona 3 was reputed to be really good, and I had very fond memories of its Super Famicom predecessor Shin Megami Tensei from a time when I was stuck in the middle of nowhere with nothing else to do than to trial and error my way through a brutally hard JRPG that I couldn’t even read. But I gave it a try on a whim, and I was blown away. It was an incredibly tight story that was very well thought out, I built connections to the characters there in a way I was sorely lacking from the people I was with in real life, and the battle system had complexities at a level I wasn’t expecting from a JRPG of the time.

It didn’t exactly turn my life around, but it did single-handedly turn me back into a devoted hobbyist of video games. I had been a proponent for stories in video games beforehand, but that was the first one that really opened my eyes to the depths of just what unique feature the medium had for storytelling.  Not only that, it was fun.  I fell in love with it, and it showed me I still could enjoy video games at a time I really needed that.  I probably wouldn’t be playing today and having this blog here were it not for that game.

What is the most memorable scene from a film you’ve watched?

For me, it’s the climax to Beauty and the Beast. Where the Beast is fighting with Gaston, and the latter falls off the castle to his death. Between Gaston’s blind rage, and the first time I think I was exposed to a death as a kid, that really stuck with me.

What inspired you to begin blogging?

Blazes. Look at my sidebar there. This blog dates back to the start of 2013. For such a simple project like this one, that’s exceptionally long. Long enough that I don’t rightly remember.

I’ve been writing for a long time. Some of which has even seen the light of day. I used to admin for a roleplaying forum, and was a pretty active participant there. I’ve got a few articles scattered around other people’s sites, used to put together fun essays and games on various social media I was a part of, etc. I enjoyed it. I like creating. But everything I did was all scattered around, and it was all on other people’s sites. I had nothing of my own. I was also following quite a few gaming blogs at the time. I was frustrated with most of the forums and what not I had been dealing with, how much discussion went ignored there, but I was enticed by the idea of having my own little place that I could put my own thoughts up, keeping my own small corner of the internet, just having a place for me and whatever from my mind I felt I could share with the world. I figured I’d try it out, see how it goes, and five years later, I’m apparently still at it. I don’t have the time to post as much as I’d like to, and it doesn’t seem to have as much reach as the avenues I used to write through, but I’m very fulfilled with it.

If you could go back in time and see any band that has permanently broken up perform a concert, which one would you choose?

Nightwish is one of my favorite bands. They’re still around, but they’ve gone through a few lead singers, and each time, it changes their musical profile significantly. Would have been nice to have caught them with their original lead singer, with whom they put out a lot of their most notable work.

  • Share a link to your best post(s).

My best post? They’re all great, how can I choose? But I am particularly proud of having what I believe is the most comprehensive list of left-handed video game characters on the internet. It could probably do with an update, there’s two more I’ve come across in games since I put that list together, but it’s still a more thorough list than I believe you’d be able to find elsewhere. Occasionally, I track back the links leading people to the blog, and find that someone else has used that list for their own projects. That’s also fulfilling to me, that it’s started to take a life of it’s own.

Also, I’m really proud of our Dark Souls run here. If you have some time to fill, might I suggest that? The first post probably not so great, because I wasn’t expecting to do a LP out of it then, but from the second onward, should be hitting more our stride. That was the first LP I’ve completed, and I think it went really well. Especially one jumping in blind to a notoriously difficult game.

More recently, I think my post analyzing Nintendo’s business culture is pretty noteworthy. It was fun for me to step back into my business academic shoes, and although it’s mostly conjecture, I think it does come from a perspective and carries information you’d be hard-pressed to find elsewhere.

And, you know, because this is long enough already, and because it’s time for me to go play some games, how about we tackle the Sunshine Blogger award in another post.

The One Lovely Blog Award

There was supposed to be a blog post here.  A long one.  I’ve been working in my spare time on one for a while.  This is one that I’m putting a lot into.  Working a lot of thought and research into it, meaning it’s probably going to be one of those posts that so tailored to my own mental processes that not many others are going to agree with or be interested in the content, but it’s fun to put those out every once in a while, and what’s blogging if you’re not selfish every once in a while?

In any case, I had planned to put this post here, today, figured that I’d have the time to finish it up over the weekend.  Unfortunately, life, as it often does, said no.  Between work, chores, homework, and social obligations, I’ve not had the time I wanted to to work on that post.  Looking at the post, I’m not anywhere near finished.  So, we were going to be looking at one of those sad, sad times where it takes me a while to get a post out, and everyone’s hearts feels smaller in the interim.


Then, I remembered that a fortnight ago, the lovely Athena at the lovely blog Ambigaming had nominated us here at Lost to the Aether for the One Lovely Blog Award.  I’ve been a little hesitant to follow up on that, what with the fact that this is one of those viral social things and I’m just not very social conflicting with the fact that I think I am totally awesome and love talking about myself.  These two opposed mentalities created a stalemate until… well, until I needed some quick content and this provided a good framework.  You should go over to Athena’s blog and thank her for that.  While you’re at it, check out some of her posts, too.  I mean, if you’ve been following me this far, you probably enjoy overthinking video games, and she does that really well!  Especially if you’re interested at all at how brain science works with video games.

And yeah, some of you who’ve been with us for a while may be wondering how I might have anything more to say about myself after I’ve already been Double Liebstered and a Versatile Blogger.  Oh, how much you underestimate me.  I am as complicated as I am mysterious.  Besides, the OLBA on requires me to state seven things about myself.  Seven!  I could do that all day.

Let’s go!

  1. I was a giant Nintendo fanboy for the longest time.  Yeah, the bad, argumentative type.  I don’t know what to say, there was something wrong with me.  That had lasted until I was given a PS2 back in 2007 and got to expand my gaming horizons.  Even now, I’ve owned at least one version of every console and handheld Nintendo’s put out, aside from the Virtual Boy.
  2. I stopped acknowledging my birthday years ago.  This way, I never age, and shall remain eternally youthful.
  3. I haven’t really written into it here, but as you may have guessed from my ill-fated and poorly suited to the internet-format attempt to create a graphic novel, I really like graphic novels.  Or comics, or manga, or whatever you want to call them.  I read more of those than I do traditional literature.
  4. My father was a huge gun nerd.  I have never cared about guns, but I was able to, check the safety, securely unload, and strip a gun at the age of five, thanks to him.
  5. It seems that most of my interests have pulled a complete 180 from where I was as a teenager.  As a youngling, I was never very interested in dancing, dating, sports, clothes, and a whole bunch of other stuff that I’ve really grown into and now I kick myself for wasting all those times and opportunities in my teenage years.
  6. My hair is my best physical feature.  I’m like Samson, and that’s where my power comes from, except my power is to make people weak in the knees and keep them from thinking of anything else.
  7. I’m not a fitness freak or anything, but I’ve gotten really into calisthenics in the past few years.  I can’t even say why that specifically, but those bodyweight exercises just feel so satisfying to me.

So… there.  That’s me.  And wasn’t that fun?  We’ll see you all again, once I get caught up with life!

The Liebster Award 2, Revenge of the Liebster


If you’ve been rolling around the internet for a while, you may have come across the Liebster Award a couple of times.  For the uninitiated, it’s something small-time bloggers nominate each other for, seemingly as a means of getting everyone to know each other better, foster good will, all that fun stuff.  Well, Lost to the Aether was recently nominated for the Liebster Award by esteemed Filmmaker/Videogame Player/Entrepreneur/Possibly Millionaire Playboy Superhero Paul Michael Egan!  I greatly appreciate and am very honored by his nomination.  Also, if you enjoy what I’ve been doing here, it’ll likely be worth your while to check out his blog.  He’s been going through and reviewing what seems to be his entire videogame collection, and I know I’ve learned about quite a few games I’ve never even heard of since I started following his blog.

I know some of you that have been following the blog for a while might be thinking, “Now Aether, you modern day Adonis.  Didn’t you already get nominated for the Liebster by the illustrious Mental Gaming?  Is it really properly sporting of you to make a second Liebster post?”  And that’s true, we have previously gone through the whole Liebster rigamarole.  But the more observant of you in the audience might see the idea of passing up the nomination for what it truly is: absolutely no fun at all.  Turning down a nomination and the interaction with my fellow bloggers does not really strike me as being within the spirit of the award.  Besides, I’m sure that if you ask anybody who knows me, they’d all agree that I’m at least twice as Liebster as the average person.

Continue reading

The Liebster Award


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.

  1. I have a fairly large ego on account of my incredible good looks okay you guys can at least let me have one!!!
  2. I drive one of these:                                        X90.MMshow96 Yes, it is just as weird as it looks.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. I really enjoy wine.
  6. 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.
  7. I love to dance, although most people would probably tell you I’m not very good at it.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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…