August and September

I got a lot done this month. Or at least it seems so. Not everything I thought I might do, but still a bunch.

First off, I did accomplish my goal of having a proper Blaugust, writing a new post every day. Some of them weren’t the best posts, but there was only one that was completely no-effort, so good on me. Having the prompts really helped some days. I didn’t write about everything I wanted to, but I did get to most of it. Like, I didn’t get to reviewing the Princess Connect anime, but at least I watched the first three episodes (and almost wrote about them, but then I remembered something else more timely).

I actually started two new games. First, Harspace: Shipbreakers, which I wrote about the other day; and then Assassins Creed: Odyssey, which I haven’t yet. Both are good, fun games. Both took me away from the other games I’m playing, and made me wish I had more hours in the day to play.

I also kept up with the dailies, and more, in my other games. Just dailies in ESO and STO, and significantly more in the mobile games I’ve been playing. Pokemon Masters really has revamped things with its latest major update, and it’s more fun to play; plus, it has its anniversary celebration going on right now.

I actually got back into Granblue Fantasy in a real way, for some reason. I guess it was the extra quests with the summer celebration. But I put actual effort into Rise of Beasts, and actually participated in guild wars (I think I broke my (admittedly pathetic) record for honors). I was planning on 40-boxing Sarasa up to 5*, but decided to just use the classic method after looking at all the materials I didn’t have that I still needed.

As for next month, there are definitely some thing’s I’m looking forward to. Crusader Kings 3 just came out today, and I’m itching to get into it. Genshin Impact should come out this month, I think, and that’s something else worth investigating, if I don’t think it will infest my computer with CCP funny business (it’s not Tencent, but it’s still mainlander Chinese I’m pretty sure). Craftopia is coming to early access soon, and that looks like it might be my jam.

Relaxation

Today is the last Blaugust prompt, and it’s from the B-Man himself, Belghast:

What is your favorite thing to do in order to relax?

The first, most obvious thing to come to mind is: video games. That’s basically the first thing that comes to mind in most situations, really, but that’s how I like to spend my “relaxing” time. But then I thought, is the answer really that simple? Is that how I actually relax? After all, video games tend to get the juices flowing, not the opposite. Probably the times I’m most frustrated on average are video games.

But then the question becomes, what else is there to do to relax? Watch videos? I suppose that’s one thing, but I mostly do that when I’m bored and can’t play video games. Read a book? When was the last time I did that, especially in place of doing much of anything else. Writing? Hah! Just browsing the internet? Again, that’s more of a thing I do when I”m not playing games.

So I guess the answer is actually video games. But I think the “relax” part is more of an emotional relaxation than a physical or mental relaxation. (Though I suppose sitting there playing vidya is pretty physically relaxing…) If I just want to forget my problems (or anyone else’s) for a bit, video games keeps my mind off of it like nothing else. It’s like keeping busy to keep your mind off of something, but actually fun. Even if I get frustrated with a game, that’s far different from being frustrated with the state of the world, or my bank account. Even just thinking about different lore or headcanon or whatever is relaxing, even if it does literally keep me up at night.

Hobbies, Wanted

Today’s Blaugust prompt is hosted by Ace Asunder:

Tell us about some of your hobbies outside of the realm of your specific niche.

I’m guessing that’s talking about hobbies I don’t talk about here on the blog. Uh…

So let’s change the prompt around a bit! I’m going to talk about a hobby that I want to get into, but haven’t because of lack of time or money, or laziness (usually this). And that’s cooking, and baking in particular.

I like cooking. It’s something I’ve enjoyed doing for some time. But I don’t do it very often. Thing is, when I’m actually needing to eat, I don’t want to cook. It’s like my enjoyment goes out the window, fleeing from me like some sort of scared bird. But when I’m not hungry, I also don’t want to cook, since I don’t want to eat – and I don’t particularly enjoy eating reheated food either. Nor do I like making basic “meal” foods, like the stuff you make from a box. Not that I’m bad at that, but it’s just not fun. What a pickle. So I either eat out or do frozen stuff (which fits with my diet, but it’s not fun, and I’m almost too lazy for that).

I also don’t mind baking, generally. Just mix stuff up, put it in the oven, and let it take care of itself. Well, sometimes. Breads and pastries require more effort, and I’m lazy. But they taste sooooo good, and there’s a lot that I”ve never tried before, that you have to pay real money to get at a bakery.

So, at present I just watch cooking shows on the internet. Sure, the food looks good, and it makes me hungry. But then I look at the prep, all the ingredient, and I balk. As I said a couple days ago, this past weekend some siblings came by for breakfast (they were passing through the area after a vacation). I was thinking of what I could make, and I thought, I’ve always wanted to try the big fluffy pancakes you see in anime. So I looked up some videos, and it’s pretty simple. But I don’t have a mixer, and you have to make a meringue (which I’ve never done before), and then it’s a bit finicky to actually cook, and excuse after excuse. So I just did french toast, which was good and fun, but not new or exciting.

So, that’s something I want to get into. Just need to get a stand mixer, a hand mixer, a bunch of ingredients, a pot or three…

Who Do I Want to Meet?

Today’s Blaugust prompt comes to us from Bhagpuss of Inventory Lost:

If you could meet any person you look up to, who would it be?

And I have to echo his response:

No one.

Now, my reason is completely different. I don’t want to meet anyone I look up to. I’m already awkward enough meeting people I already know, let alone complete strangers. Meeting someone I look up to would just put me so out of whack that I’d completely waste the opportunity. Hell, I do that enough with people I’ve known for quite a while.

And it’s not a lack of confidence, or social anxiety (well, not just…). I’m just bad at that whole “conversation” thing. Just yesterday, I had breakfast with a couple of my siblings who happened to be passing through town. I am quite comfortable with them, as one would expect. But still, the conversation was a bit awkward and forced. Not through any strain in our relationship, but just my lack of being a good conversation partner.

So yah, no meeting heroes, or even just people I admire.

BUT…there are some people I’d like to talk to. Not just random conversations, obviously, but about topical stuff.

You.

Well, not you, specifically, necessarily, but the general type of person who would come to this blog. If you’re here, it’s because you share some interest with me. Probably video games, maybe Star Trek. Something we could talk about. I’d say some of the people I follow on Twitter or Youtube would be fun to talk to, too. Maybe not in person, but on a podcast or stream maybe. I often have delusions that I have something meaningful to say about a particular topic, and it’d be nice to do it in a somewhat more personal manner than this blog.

Excited!

Today’s Blaugust prompt (brought to us by Heather at Just Geeking By) is:

What are the things that get you excited in life?

I’m going to be honest here: this was really hard. Sure, one or two of these won’t surprise anyone who’s been reading the blog at all, but beyond the obvious? I just don’t know. Lately, a lot of things that used to animate me…don’t. But, I will persevere.

Pizza

I love pizza. Really love it. I eat it as much as I can, which is obvious looking at my physique. Up there is a picture from one of my favorite places, Shakey’s. Haters gonna hate, but I love that style for some reason. But I love pretty much all pizza. Deep dish, paper-thin, lots of toppings, just cheese, whatever, I love it. Sure, there are pizzas I don’t like, and I of course have my preferences, but pizza is one of those things that excites me, just thinking about it. I look forward with great anticipation every pizza day, all week.

Astronomy
I don’t remember if I actually was the one that took the image on the right, but I was definitely the one who analysed the data to make it.

When I was a kid I really loved space. Then I kinda grew out of it; or perhaps more accurately, lost exposure. Your typical high school just doesn’t focus on that. When I went back to uni I took a 101 course in Astronomy, as an easy elective for my Physics degree. Sure, it was that, but it rekindled my excitement for astronomy. I took a few more astronomy classes, but reigned it in, as I needed to eventually graduate. But I figured I’d take the rest of my science electives in astronomy. Unfortunately, the timing didn’t work out for that (some classes only offered a certain semester, which were gatekeeper classes for more stuff, etc.), but I did get to do some actual work and research with the telescope, which was awesome (even though I had a 4am shift for work…). If I had to do it again, I’d skip out on Physics, and go into Astronomy.

Star Trek

This was one of the obvious ones. Hell, I named my blog after Trek. I love Star Trek to death. Good Trek, that is. Or even mediocre Trek. But not the bad stuff. That’s part of why I haven’t been able to get excited about much lately: one of my greatest loves is just plain bad, and has been for most things since Enterprise ended about 15 years ago. All the new official canon is bad or terrible. Can’t get that thrill anymore about any announcements, because all that can come of that is disappointment. At least the old stuff is still there, and I love talking about that at every opportunity. I even still play STO, despite it going the way of the dog too.

Gacha Game Stories

I like game stories in general. I know most game writers aren’t the best, but I tend to like them anyways. I of course get most excited for RPG’s, because they usually have the most, and best, story. But I put gacha games here in focus because they deliver on a regular basis. Sure, they tend to be merely context for image and sound files for whatever gameplay there is, but that’s what I love about it. As I said, I’m not expecting an epic, or a classic, but just something decent (in fact, in a future post – maybe tomorrow – I’ll talk about some things that would improve the stories in a couple of games I play). I like the background. I like the context. I like that they are short. And I love the delivery schedule the best. The games I play deliver some new story or another at least once a month. Even MMO’s generally take several months between story content updates; they might be meatier in comparison, but they’re just as disposable. In an earlier era, I’d probably be the guy devouring every pulp sci-fi magazine; these gacha game stories are a modern equivalent, I think. And, as I posted towards the beginning of the month, I really dislike it when people just dismiss the stories as trash, without engaging with them. Tell me why you think it’s trash. I just want to talk about these, have a discussion, theorycraft, worldbuild, headcanon, I don’t even care what you think as long as we’re talking. That’s exciting.

The Physical Blogspace

Today’s Blaugust prompt is from Krikket of Nerd Girl Thoughts:

Tell us about your physical creative space, and how it influences your content creation.

My physical “creative” space is pretty simple. I do most of my blogging during breaks at work. In my office. Because of course I have my own office; “janitorial shift manager” is a very prestigious position. I’m not going to post any pictures, because it’s very simple really. I’ve got my chromebook here, my work pc that I only use if I need to print something (as the chromebook only has ONE usb port), and various office supplies all around.

The office itself is small (a couple years ago I traded size for air conditioning; a fair trade if I do say so), about 8.5’x10.5′. The computers face one corner. I’ve got on-wall bookshelves above the desk, which takes up most of two walls. The bookshelf directly in my sight has my diploma and various books (this would be where relevant people have their Important Reference Books; I just have some old college textbooks, and Japanese learning aids).

That’s how it is. Not terribly inspiring. Maybe if I had somewhere more “creative,” my posts might be better. Probably not, though, since the posts I do at home on the weekends aren’t any better. If this setting inspires me at all, it’s to work fast. Because they are work breaks. Sure, I have more time now, seeing as how we have no one in the dorms. But normal times, not so much. I’ve got to be quick. No time for proofreading or editing. (Not that I’d do anything like that anyhow; I never did for papers at for school, either.)

Improvement

Today’s Blaugust prompt (original poster is Stingite) is

What skill do you want to improve on the most?

Pretty simple question. And for me, it’s a pretty simple answer. I want to improve my communication skills, and writing in particular.

See, I was always a decent writer. Competent, got good marks on my essays. I can do public speaking relatively well. Relatively. But “relatively well” isn’t good enough, in my eyes. Not when it’s important (important to me, anyhow).

I stated long ago that this was a reason for me to start this blog in the first place – to improve my writing skills. I have no real reason to do this – I’m a glorified janitor, after all. Even moving up to middle management somewhere wouldn’t really necessitate improving my writing (I’ve seen what our management does here), just keeping up my basic literacy. But I still want to improve.

I just don’t see my writing as particularly good. Oh, I know there are good ideas. That’s why I bother writing them down in the first place, whether it’s here on this blog, or somewhere else. (I’ve always been the type to hold my peace when I don’t have anything particular to add to a conversation. Drives some people up the wall.) But actually getting those ideas out, in a satisfactory manner, has always been very difficult for me. Even just explaining myself verbally is a challenge, but writing is definitely much harder. I’ll think about something for a long time, but when the time comes to let someone else know, I almost always falter.

For example, look at yesterday’s post. To me, when I read it, it seems like the barely-literate ramblings of a child. Now, I know they’re not. It’s competently done. I said what I wanted to say. But I didn’t say it how I wanted it said. It’s very simple and perfunctory. There’s no style or voice. I’ve been writing this post in my head for weeks. And yet there it is, looking like something a middle-schooler could dump out. Maybe not today’s middle schoolers, but you get the point. It was all much better in my head, but it’s just slop.

This is why I don’t do too many reviews – what can I say that is worth reading? I made yesterday’s post because I figure most anyone who reads it wouldn’t know about it, so there’s some small value there. But it’s a big part of why I haven’t put up my Picard review yet – people much more eloquent (or at least funnier) than I have said a lot about it. I still have thoughts and feelings about it, which I will post, this month, but still, I doubt it will satisfy me, besides the mere fact of finally expressing myself (to someone other than my brother, who doesn’t even care about Trek).

So yah, I want to improve my communication. I’m a smart guy, if I might toot my own horn a bit, so I shouldn’t sound like an idiot.

I think I want to make this image my header, I use it enough.

Badfan Bad

Back on Friday Belghast posted the first of the Blaugust prompts:

If you could change anything about one of your core fandoms, what would it be?

(I’m going to be a bit late with some of these, since I have my own things to post too.) Now, like lots of people, I have to wonder just what exactly my core fandoms are. First, to determine what exactly I might qualify as a “core fan” of; and second, to determine where in that fandom I lie.

But let’s skip all that. Because no matter the answer(s) to that question, my problems with fandom are the same. Now, since the prompt implies only one change, but I have a few problem areas, I’ll use this space to perhaps work out which is the worst, that I would change. I mostly participate with fandom on 4chan, which exacerbates the problems, but they are universal.

First, there are the doomers. For them, no matter what happens, the thing in question is always dying. Doesn’t matter how actually successful it is, it’s ending soon, just you wait. This wouldn’t be so bad, if these people weren’t so persistent. They doompost constantly, everywhere. If the thing isn’t the top of the charts, it’s a failure. If sales were low, the game is dying next month. Even if they get BTFO constantly, they just come back again in an hour with something else. My ‘favorites’ are the people that say ESO, one of the big three top MMO’s currently, is in a death spiral because, just for example, a single streamer stops covering the game. Point out that this is nonsense, and they’ll be on to some other thing. Then when that is shot down, they’ll bring up the streamer again. If this was mere trolling, it’d be understandable, but the obsession puts lie to that.

Next, there are the people that say everything about [thing] is crap. It’s not that they dislike [thing], but that it’s bad. You know, they put hundreds of hours into [thing], and continue to engage in [thing], which makes them experts into everything that’s bad about [thing]. And [thing] should change. Somehow. They very rarely give any actual criticism, let alone potential improvements. Again, this would be bearable if it was mere trolling, but the persistence of these folks shows that these aren’t trolls. They’re just unhappy with whatever, and letting you know it. Always, constantly. They aren’t doomers though, because they don’t think [thing] is dying. Not yet, anyways – but it will if it doesn’t improve.

The third problem group is the opposite of the above. They are the type that say [thing] is great how it is; sure, there can always be improvements, but [thing] is just fine now. No matter how low-quality [thing] is, they’ll praise it. They’re even worse than shills, because they aren’t even being paid to promote [thing]. But worst of all, these are who creators listen to the most. These people are happy, which means there are probably many more like them, so whatever! Forget the complainers! Ignore the valid criticism! Everything is fine with [thing]! And of course these types are the ones who get the most angry at people that don’t have a similar level of enthusiasm for [thing]. Unlike the types above, they actively try to drive people out of the fandom. All the while they’ll eat any slop that the creatives behind [thing] put out. They’re especially bad when [thing] has changed from something to another quite different [thing], and get quite upset that others don’t support the change.

In the end, I guess I have to say that the last type are the worst, to me. The former two are annoying as hell, but that’s all – they’re merely annoying. They don’t try to reform fandom into something it’s not, or it wasn’t. So yah, if I had to change something about my fandoms, I’d get rid of the slop-eaters.

A Year Of This Blog

Looks like it’s been a year since I’ve opened this blog. The actual anniversary was a few days ago, but I missed it. Oops. I actually wanted to post something on that day, but I had the day off and forgot.

I originally made the blog to participate in Blaugust. It’s almost that time of year again (as you’d expect), but I’m not truly participating in the strictest sense. Because Blaugust has changed, man. Sure, I can follow along, but why would I do that? Just because we just did the whole “post for 30 days” thing back in April, doesn’t mean I can’t do it again.

So I think I will do just that. There are a lot of things I want to write about. I just didn’t have the drive to actually write them. Because I’m lazy. Hell, I was going to write something yesterday. Since I’m so lazy, and have the ADD, I won’t do things unless there’s a specific goal I’m working towards. I know that’s basic motivational psychology, but there you go. So, I will write. Every day of August. I didn’t quite make it last year, I think I missed a day or two, but I did it in April, so I know it’s possible. I just have to do it.

And, since making prompts seems to be the thing to do, here’s a list of things I will probably write about:

  • A series on Bang Dream Girls’ Band Party (something like MoeGamer does with games, though not good like him)
  • Finally write out my potential historical timeline for Deus Ex
  • Give my review of the first season of Picard, which I’ve been promising since that ended
  • Do an impressions post on the Greymore expansion of ESO
  • Review the Destroy All Humans remaster
  • Review the Princess Connect anime (and thus actually watch it)
  • Reflect on the various summer events and stories in the games I play
  • Complain (?) about the heat
  • Complain some more about grinds
  • Talk about food
  • Solve world hunger
  • Bring peace on Earth
  • Talk about Stellaris

The End of Blaugust

It’s the last of of August, which means it’s the last day of Blaugust. So, what does this mean?

As far as my goals…I had 31 posts (this being 32). I might not have made all of them within the proper calendar day in my time zone (sometimes you just get into playing games so much, and then it’s “oh crap, it’s 11:43pm, gotta make that post!”), but I did have a post for every day, so that’s great. Also I’m pretty pleased with the quality of the posts, for the most part. Not too many low effort short posts (there are some low-effort longer ones…).

It was even mostly about video games, which surprised me. I didn’t think I would have that much to say. I have even more to say, more ideas, that I’ve come up with that I just haven’t had the time to think about enough to jot down. So that’s comforting. I have more to do, so the blog won’t close down.

I do wish I had taken even more time to play more games, but ESO just sucked me right in. Unfortunately, there’s not too much to talk about there, yet, aside from what I’ve already done. I expect that, as I get deeper into the story, and stop being a scrub, I’ll get more to talk about. Or at least post screenshots about.

I’ve already known that I like to post a lot of screenshots, with a pithy/snarky line or two. I do that a lot at other places I post. I’ve tried to keep most of that out of the blog, so far. Part of it is that it kinda detracts from my point, sometimes, when I actually have a point. And part of it is that my humor doesn’t always transfer – this blogging community I’ve stumbled into is rather different than other places I hang out. But maybe in the future I’ll post more of that. Once I figure out how to make captions more caption-y with this layout.

So there it is. I think I done gud. I’m not hanging up my hat yet, though without pressure things will get a bit lighter around here. But not dead. Unfortunately for those few that read this.