The Versatile Blogger Award

Sometimes, life is cruel.  Sometimes, it seems life just tries to keep you down.  Sometimes, you desperately want to post more on your blog but you’re too busy trying to keep from drowning under the sea of all hardships life just keeps burying you in that you just can’t find the time.  It’s moments like this that true friends are so important.  They’re the ones who remind you there’s still things worth living for, the ones who keep you from giving up, the ones who throw you softball posting opportunities by nominating you for viral blog awards.

Recently, my good friend and talented author Mishka did just that for me, adding onto Lost to the Aether’s status of being twice as Liebster as your average blog by nominating us for the Versatile blog award, yet another award promoting bloggers getting to know each other by spreading nominations among their fellows.  

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In fact, this award seems even simpler than the Liebsters we’ve dealt with in the past.  Just post seven things about yourself.  I think I can handle that much.  Here goes!

  1. Once upon a time, I was fairly into poetry.  I put together a few works, entered them into local competitions, that whole deal.  I had to stop once my parents found out.  They were… way too supportive.  They’d take my poems and pass them around to friends and family without permission, make me read them out at parties, etc.  It was too much for me, and I’ve never really tried to write any more or even appreciated to form ever since.
  2. I have a prominent birthmark on the left side of my chest.  When I was a kid, I used to imagine it marked me as a prophesied hero or something like that.  Still waiting for that to play out.  My grandfather once told me I had the birthmark because my grandmother branded it into me.  I believed him for way too long.
  3. I still write regularly, although lately I’ve been having a bit of a problem where I start projects but never get out of the intro.
  4. Several years ago, I started a project with my video games where I go through each system I own in generational order and beat, or come as close as I possibly can to beating, every single game I possess.  I had been cruising along at a good rate, but I’ve been stuck at the PS2/Gamecube/Xbox generation for years now, because I own waaaay too many jrpgs for those systems.
  5. I’ve been searching for a new job and to move away from my current location for a good long while.  That said, if any of you know of a good nonprofit that needs an experienced program manager/event specialist/ungodly beautiful man, maybe leave me a tip?
  6. Even after all my history with roleplaying forums and having this blog for over a year, so far I’ve still been too anxious about my creative works to post any of them up.  Just posting my drawings a while ago took a lot of working myself up.  That’s something I’m really hoping to work through in the near future.
  7. I am really, really, really good looking.  Like seriously.  I am a true work of art, God’s masterpiece of the human form.  I am also incredibly humble for only pointing this out like once a post.  

And… that’s that!  More content to come soon!  We’ve got the second part of the video game pacing, a brief interlude in our Dark Souls playthrough, and the promised retrospective of the first Persona game coming up soon!  Hope to see you there!

The Liebster Award 2, Revenge of the Liebster

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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.

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The Liebster Award

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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.
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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.

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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…