A Long Week Ahead of Me

It’s going to be long week before the fall break hits and I can see my family. I can feel my nerves begin to act up. But I’m gonna “power” right through it because….

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Nostalgic Boners and Toxic Fandoms

Warning: The following is an uber nerd rant that might go on for a long time. You’ve been warned. Now it’s time to get my geek on.

I joined up with some fan forums last night. Quite unlike me because I’ve done my best to avoid mingling with fandoms. I used to kick it with the nerd clique which I liked to call “Nerdcore” or “The Nerd Herd” because I figured it’s only natural to want to be around people with similar interests. Did we end up getting along? Yes for the most part. Were there conflicts based on individual tastes, thoughts, and opinions? Yuuuuuuup…..

There are some cancerous people in the nerd community. Straight up. I always end up running into them. It’s an inevitability. It’s a problem when they come in swarms like insects. It becomes an even bigger problem when it seems like you’re under constant attack for the things that you like.

I’m guilty of liking a lot of stuff that’s not popular with other people. Where do I begin?

The anime series, Blood-C. Not for everyone, especially if you’re the squeamish type. It had so much gore that it made Elfen Lied look like a Disney film by comparison. But it actually had a plot that played a good psychological example of Nature vs Nurture and combining it with the whole “Truman Show” scenario. Could it have been executed in a different way? Yes, absolutely. But I think people were so turned off because viewers just had zero patience and didn’t pay attention to what was happening in the episodes that built up toward the end. There were hints everywhere, clear as day. Plus during the last episode there’s a lot more information that’s dropped on everyone’s laps but people don’t get the whole picture. They don’t get the whole picture because they didn’t take the time to put all the puzzle pieces together.

I liked the Ghostbusters and Power Ranger movies that recently came out. Were they perfect? No, of course they’re not perfect. There’s no such thing as perfection. That’s an illusion that people use to set themselves up for disappointment. Are they gonna win any Oscars? I fucking doubt it. But they don’t deserve all the hate that they get from movie viewers and Rotten Tomatoes. The Ghostbusters backlash is purely sexist, nothing more than that. Was it better than the original films back in the 80’s? No, but it wasn’t a complete shit show. It wasn’t a total flop. It could’ve been so much worse than people make it out to be. The same thing with the Power Rangers movie. Rotten Tomatoes labeled it a “box office failure”. Who did the reviewing? Toxic fans who grew up into jaded cynical adults or jaded cynical adults that never watched the original show at all? I loved both those films. I walked out of the movie theater with no regrets and I didn’t feel like my childhood was shat on.

I like some of the more unpopular Final Fantasy titles. My first FF game was Final Fantasy 8 and I fucking loved playing it. It was the second RPG I ever played. That first walkthrough was memorable to me because there was so much trial and error from how I played it and it made the battles especially difficult. Both factors made it all the more gratifying when I finally did beat the game. Is FF8 the best title in the franchise? Does it have the most compelling characters? The biggest replay value? The most amazing plot? No to all of that. But I love FF8 for sentimental reasons. Plus at the time I was playing it I wasn’t looking for any of that in the first place and I didn’t know any of the stuff back then that I know now. So I didn’t label Squall as an emo. Or the romance with Rinoa as uninspired? And I’m not so nerdy that I try to dissect the plot and complain at everything like….”How do you compress time? That doesn’t seem so terrifying…”

Oh yeah and when I was reading the manga, “Claymore”, it pissed someone off so bad that they yelled at me, “That’s just a rip off of Berserk! No, it’s just Berserk with boobs!”

Do you see the pattern here? This is what I call “Pulling a Jon Joel”. Because there was this one asshole in the Nerd Herd circle named Jon Joel who would walk up to you, start up a conversation like so, “What anime/video games are you into?” You proceed to give him an answer and then he responds with, “That’s fucking bullshit! I can’t stand that stuff! I can’t stand those characters! The protagonist is a complete faggot and you’re a faggot for even liking that show!”

Because the whole point of Jon Joel conversing with you is to tear apart everything you love and talk about what he loves because no way he would ever pick a bad anything. He was the sort of extreme weeb who loved to hear the sound of his own voice, bask in the smell of his own shit, and had a butter face that even his own mother would love to throw a brick at. He’s just one of many people who I feel epitomizes that toxic fandom behavior.

Whatever happened with “To each his/her own”? Or common human decency for that matter. I joined up with these forums on some dumb whim and I see so much of that toxic fandom going on just skimming through the site. I almost want to rant in a forum about how the Ghostbusters or Power Rangers movie didn’t suck but I know it’s gonna attract people who will disagree. And the last thing that I want is to have to breathe in more poison than I’ve already have for most of my life.

See? Told ya I was gonna rant. Lately I’ve been indulging myself in a lot of things from my childhood. Nerdy things like Sailor Moon, reading fan fiction, playing retro playstation games, etc. It’s partly depression treatment, going back to my roots and reviving interests that were dying out. The other reason is that naturally they’re all creative fuel for me.

I’m trying to get more serious about my fiction writing. I don’t want to invite anyone else into this fold because past experience tells me that’s not a good idea. People won’t operate on the same wavelength as me and I need to be able to trust myself when I’m writing, especially if I have any chance of making a career out of it. Some of my creative projects are gonna be based off those nerdy nostalgic things that I love so much.

I find myself constantly making a lot of announcements for intentions, but here I go. It won’t be the last time I’ll be doing this. One of the biggest things I’ve struggled with while trying to write is constantly fearing that my ideas aren’t good enough or I’m always giving up on things before I ever truly give them a chance. This is a bad habit that I’m trying to get out of. There’s also the many other facets that come from wanting to write, but that’s the stuff for a whole other blog entry (although I’m fairly certain one of my older posts already covered that). I want to lead a depression free life which I believe can be achieved through writing. I want to write my stories without anymore fear, shame, or self-hate aimed at myself and I need to be comfortable in my own skin to do that. I need to be comfortable with myself by being real with my shit. (Being Real…oh look there’s another throwback to a previous post.)

My New Intentions
1. I want to enjoy the things that make me feel alive.
2. I want to better love myself without reservation.
3. I want to be able to voice my thoughts and opinions without fear.
4. I want to write for me and worry about all the other stuff later.
5. I want to complete at least one creative project before I end up finishing things at App State.
6. I want to break out of self-harming thoughts that have been tying me down.
7. I want to engage with people who aren’t so toxic and leave me to do my own thing without judgement.
8. I want to be comfortable with myself.
9. I want to go after everything that I want without fear in my heart.
10. I want to take better care of myself.
11. I want to live intentionally.
12. I want to forgive myself for never being good enough in the eyes of others or even to myself. Forgive myself for every little thing that I’ve perceived as a failure or defeat. Forgive myself for being different from others. Forgive myself from making progress at my own pace. Finally forgive myself for ever getting lost in life.

I’m done. Later days.

No More “Matt Damon”ing through Life

As of now I am free from this summer semester. I finished my final exam for photojournalism which was only 12 questions of matching terms, short answers, and fill in the blanks whereas the review sheet made it look like it was going to be 12 pages worth of shit. I was like, “Ok that was easy….”

Then I pay my tuition for the fall. Holy hell! I hope to God my refund kicks in faster than this private loan did. Speaking of, the loan check finally made it to my Mom. But she can’t do shit about it until I get back home because apparently I have to sign it first. Meanwhile I have -$149.50 in my account. Motherfucker what?!!

I can’t even buy pizza or a cup of coffee with that. Oh and I have little to no food at right now. Once again I’m in that Matt Damon situation, “I got to science the hell out of this shit!”

So I call my Mom and tell her whats up. Mostly to tell her that I need cash now! But also to let her know that I’m done with classes and I’m happy with my new home. I have farm animals that live next door to me. Cows, goats, donkeys!! The goats even stumbled into our front yard and starting eating up the grass. I’m like, “Welp….there’s our lawn maintenance right there!”

I dropped a class that was in my schedule in favor of something better. I got a full schedule that’s worth 12 credit hours, but I put myself on the waiting list for this one class that’s required for my degree. I hope to get into it so I can drop one class that I added as just a filler. Other than that, it’s a nice looking schedule. Tuesdays and Thursdays are going to be my light days and I’ll only have to go to one class on Fridays so that’s almost a free day!

My financial aid is finally back to normal! No obstructions whatsoever! Those guys at the main office had me doing all sorts of circus acts just to get back on their good side! I feel like I did everything except take part of an Pagan orgy just to get that cash to payback my Mom.

Finally I feel like I’m crashing down completely. I’m finally feeling full blown exhaustion from these last three months. I had to power through this shit and act like it wasn’t phasing me one bit. Now is the part where I fall to my bed and feel like dying. Metaphorically, not suicidal.

I miraculously managed to scrounge up what food I did have left over and make some udon noodle soup. Which ended up tasting kinda bland. Not my best work. My defense I had no soy sauce and no money to get some. Oh and I managed to burn my hands with the soup being scalding hot. I was so hungry, I rushed to get the bowl to the table to eat, and the next thing I know I feel the soup splash into my hands. I rushed over to the sink and washed them under cold water. I filled up this large bowl with ice water and kept my left hand plunged in it while eating my bland noodle soup.

The money my Mom deposited doesn’t kick in until tomorrow morning. Who the fuck makes up these stupid processes? Money should be made available ASAP. I’m ranting. Clearly I’m ranting.

Anyone whose read one of my previous posts, “Being Real” will get this reference. The last few days I felt familiar knots being tied up in my stomach and sense of dread hanging over me. I felt like I was getting ready to deal with my personal Babadook again. Remember that? I panicked because I was afraid to open up some emails, go online to pay my tuition, or do anything else that any normal person is able to do without any kind of problems? That’s what was going on in my mind. It didn’t help that I was dealing with one big assignment after another until recently. I had it in my mind that I missed the tuition deadline like I did before even though I have been keeping up with my student email this entire summer. Universities have to deliver a warning that says “Your classes are gonna get dropped if you don’t pay up now.” I didn’t see anything like that in my inbox, but I still felt the dread.

The Babadook is speaking to me, feeding me more distorted lies…

“It’s over…”
“You’ve lost…”
“It was all for nothing…”

In my mind I balled up both my fists and punched the shit out of that son of a bitch and watched him fall down hard like a tower of bricks. Then I went on and did my thing, knocked down every thing that blows my anxieties out of control.

Final exam. Done.
Call up Mommy for money. Done
Return my one textbook. Done
Tuition payment. Done.
Schedule change. Done
Add/wait list another class. Done.
Contact a soul sucking professor that I’m not crazy about so I can make up for bombing her class. Done.

If I could, I’d be eating the biggest slices of pepperoni, mushrooms, black olives, and banana peppers right now. Then chase them down with beer. I still think beer tastes like bottled up piss but it still gets the job done. Makes me chill the fuck out. Until I’m at a point where I can stop pinching pennies I have to hope that my noodle soup keeps me full for the night. Otherwise….I got a box of Cheeze-Its that are somewhat stale that I can down.

I feel like this was the summer that I rocked the cliche of a starving artist and college student. It’s not like I embraced it by choice though.

I go back to my hometown on Thursday. Tomorrow I want to have one day of peace to myself before going back, dealing with parents and cousins that ask one too many questions, a father who sucks the life out of the room and gets pissed off drinking water, and being surrounded by a bunch of kids who are obsessed with bunnies, Skylanders, and fidget spinners. By the way I fucking hate those things. That shit doesn’t kill anxiety. That’s what nutella is for!!

Oooo Nutella…..*finds a jar and digs in*

While I’m at home though I’m gonna chill and finally take the time to enjoy the things that make me fucking happy.

1. Spending time with my cousins and their kids.
2. Playful bickering with my Mom
3. Watching WWE events. I waited a VERY long time for NXT Takeover Brooklyn and that Mae Young Classic goddamnit!!
4. Binge watching Once Upon a Time. I’m working on a story that involves fairy tales for inspiration. So I’m marathoning the show and calling it research. When in reality I’m oogling Captain Hook. Colin O’Donoghue….*fans himself*
5. Going to G Mart. I’ve been craving the Korean food there for weeks. I want bibimbap, gimbap, bulgogi, japchae, all of it!!
6. I want to sit down and keep writing the things I love writing about nonstop without having anything hang over my head for the next two weeks.
7. Get back into gaming. Preferably get into a title that’s not Persona 5.
8. Eat food that I didn’t buy with my own money because parents can’t do shit to stop me so I’m gonna take advantage of it because I’m sick of ‘Matt Damon”ing my way through life!! No!! I want to Homer Simpson through the buffet lines! Shamelessly stuff my face like Pam Poovey! And make food that’s so good that it drives a person into a fevered pitch of uncontrollable ecstasy that’s so intense that their clothes will explode like in Shokugeki no Soma!!! And that’s what will get me a spot on Chef’s Table….

Good times are about to be had. Now is a good time to sign off. I just finished the last of that nutella. Now after all that food talk I’m probably gonna go ahead and finish off those Cheese Its.

Later days

My Happy List

I’ve been “that guy” who talks nonstop about depression and anxiety and the things that trigger it to put me on edge. I need to take the time to get out of the darkness. I’m playing out some music that I haven’t listened to in a long time. It’s gotten me feeling all nostalgic and shit. Then I re-watched this video on HartBeat’s YouTube channel (I highly suggest subscribing) where she lists all things that make her happy. So I thought it a good idea to do the same thing. This really needs no further explanation so here I go!

There will be a crap ton of photos. Not sorry for that.

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This is Jewels. She was my best friend and hands down the coolest dog in the world ever. She wasn’t my dog. I took care of her when her owners were traveling. My Mom got me the gig. I was like “What are you, nuts?! I don’t know anything about dogs! Let alone taking care of them!” My Mom said she’d help out and that the dog sitting money would go straight to me. Then I met her and it was love at first sight. She was the sweetest thing ever. And she was so well behaved too. She didn’t bark or jump up on any furniture and she listened to me as if I were her owner. I took care of her for a huge part of the summer in 2012. It was one of the best times I ever had. Taking care of her was always a joy. Especially during Christmas time. She wasn’t mine, but I loved her like she were my own and she loved me back in return. She was a better friend than anyone I had ever known. Jewels died from cancer back in February. But I have nothing but the most beautiful memories of her. Sometimes I can still smell her on me. I look back on all the times she followed me around, kept me company in the kitchen, and always rolling over the floor and asking for belly rubs. I miss her dearly. But it’s thanks to her that I realize that I am capable of loving someone other than myself and can be loved in return unconditionally.

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Coffee! Because without it I’d have no reason to get up in the morning. Wired is better than tired, twitching is better than bitching, death before decaf!

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This fucking beautiful frozen delight!! It’s like an organism that goes off in your mouth in every spoonful. Not lying!

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I love anime! Especially Miyazaki films. They’re some of the best things I’ve ever seen. Other anime titles that I love include, but are not limited to; Sailor Moon, Akame Ga Kill, Inuyasha, and The Slayers. There’s a lot more, but I want to keep this part short and sweet.

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My video game collection! I’m an avid gamer and I’m proud of it! Most people I knew from childhood were always into Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings. Nothing wrong with those titles, I like them but I didn’t get into them until later. While everyone was into Tolkienn or Rawling’s works I lost myself in games like Final Fantasy 8, Legend of Dragoon, Chrono Cross, Valkyrie Profile. These titles, for me, weren’t just fun games to play at the time, but I fell in love with the presentation of everything they had. Interesting characters, compelling plots (I was 14 when I played these games, shut up), beautiful music, and a worlds that I loved escaping into when reality sucked. I collect titles like they’re Pokemon and I collect game consoles like they’re the Dragon Balls! Except for Xbox One. I’m not into the Microsoft franchise and plus they don’t offer up a lot of titles that I’m interested in. And even when there is a good game coming out on XboxOne that I’d like to play it’s also available for PS4. I am a Sony boy!

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Pokemon and pocky! Because reasons….

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The WWE! I love pro-wrestling! I watched it every week as another way of escaping reality and getting out of my head. My top favorite superstars are Sasha Banks, Bayley, Becky Lynch, Sami Zayn, Tyler Bate, TMDK, The Revival, and Finn Balor (who by the way is my future husband. He just doesn’t know it yet). I especially love the WWE games because there is an entire community dedicated to creating their own wrestling promotions, superstars, championship belts, etc. This is a photo of one of my own creations that I’m particularly proud of. I want to make my own promotion and put it on YouTube, but time management is an issue. One of these days it’s going to happen. Probably with the release of WWE 2k18.

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Anything that came out of Dorothy Zbornak’s mouth on Golden Girls. Golden Girls in general. Shameless binging of Golden Girls via HULU….need I go on?

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Seeing random shit like this that always has my sides hurting from laughing so hard.

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Everyone has childhood superheroes. Almost everyone will say Batman, Green Lantern, or the X-Men. Yeah they’re great heroes, but for me it’s always been the Power Rangers. I’ve been with them from the very beginning (which should be a huge hint as to how old I really am). I’ve kept it a secret from a lot of people to avoid ridicule while growing up. My closest friends know about this because we’d always play as Power Rangers ourselves. We’d create our own villains, monsters, zords, and act out our own Ranger characters. This played a huge impact on my creativity when I was younger. The Power Rangers were always one of the few constant things I’ve had that brought me much needed comfort whenever I had to move away and transfer to a new school and just couldn’t connect with people. Plus getting up on Saturday mornings to catch a new episode was always something to look forward to. And yes, I’ve seen the new Power Rangers movie and I FUCKING LOVED IT!! Rotten Tomatoes and all the haters can just SUCK IT!! I walked out of that theater as a very happy vintage nerd! While I’m at it I also watched and enjoyed the OTHER Power Rangers movies from the 1990’s. YES, even Turbo! I also enjoyed the rebooted Ghostbusters movie and enjoyed it for what it was! Gonna stop here before this rant eats up the rest of the post!!

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Hand written drafts! It feels so good to work that pen across the paper and fill up the page space! I’m actually preferring that than staring at a blank Word document for hours and wanting to beat the shit out of that blinking cursor which I always feels is mocking me!!

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My cooking apron! Anytime I put it on I’m like, “Yeah baby!! Let’s chef things up tonight!”

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Good pizza! Because reasons…

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Snow. I know I like to piss and moan about all the things that are wrong with Boone and Appalachian State. But they do get beautiful snow. It reminds me of life in Ohio where I was born. I love playing in the snow. I love wearing my winter’s best clothing. All the best looking clothes are meant for cold weather, let’s be real. I love being snowed in and drinking good coffee and being with people I care about. I love watching the snow fall. I especially love all the summer people suffer because they can’t show off their muscle guns or bikini bods. I’m like, “Uh oh!! Time to get a personality, STAT!”

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These little guys! These are my cousin’s kids. The one on the far left is Sammy, Charlie in the center, and the girl is Katarina. I never thought I’d be good with kids. I have a hard enough time dealing with people closer to my own age. But these kids like Jewels have helped me learn and grow so much. They love me and I love them to death. One day when I was having a really bad day and the suicidal thoughts kept creeping in I got a surprise FaceTime call from my cousin and it was Katarina who wanted to call. Not to say “Hi”, but to say “Please come back! Please come over!” It made me come back to my senses. She’s a little saint for making that call. I’ll never forget the timing. It makes me want to work harder to make myself better and be there for those kids.

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Last but certainly not least is my Mom. Here she is with Jewels, spoiling her. My Mom is the sweetest person alive, but she’s also one of the strongest people that I know. If she says that I’m the strong one it’s only because I got my strength from her. She’s my biggest reason for wanting to work harder and get better. I’ve disappointed her in the past and always had a hard time forgiving myself for it. I want to stop being such a huge screw up. I want to be successful in life. I want a family of my own that she’d love to welcome into her life. I know I always have her support, no matter what. Which is why I want to keep going forward and keep fighting. I came clean to my Mom about my depression and told her that I wanted to hurt myself and die. It made her cry hearing that. It was another huge wake up call. Even if I went ahead and ended things so I wouldn’t have to feel pain my Mom, my cousins, and those kids would be destroyed. I don’t want to be the reason that they cry or hurt. I’m going to turn things around for me and them. I’m gonna fight my nightmares like a real warrior and I’m going to come out on top.

That’s all I got for now. I’m probably going to do a continuation of this list at some point because when it comes down to it there is a lot of things that make me happy. I’ve kept myself closed off from it all because I became so addicted to my own misery. I want to be happy, I deserve to be happy, there are reasons to be happy all around me just like there is for everyone else. Only major difference is that those things don’t come from the end of a beer bottle, a bong, or anyone that’s lives by “hooking up” with the first person that they see.

Until then, later days!

Cold Feet

I’ve had time to get know my anxiety, my triggers, and what happens to my mind when I feel it fight to take me over. One of the things I’ve noticed a lot these days is that right before something happens I get cold feet.

When I had found that I had been accepted into App State I had this feeling. It didn’t help that things were a mess at the time I got the news. I remember that when it came time to make preparations I just kept dragging my feet. Like signing up for the classes my first semester, getting financial aid in order, or applying for to live at the Cottages of Boone. Though with that last part it might have been some psychic sense kicking in, trying to yell to me, “Don’t do it!! You’ll regret it! P.S, Mike’s gonna betray you!”

Then I would get this way in between semesters. Again, I’d drag feet through the whole process; class registry, FAFSA, studying for finals, cleaning around the house, packing up everything, oh wait at some point I have to cook in between. It turns everything into a chore. Especially when it’s important stuff like school preparation. I hate that.

I decide to move. I do everything that I’m supposed to do even when I don’t want to. I go through the classifieds every day to the point where I want gouge my eyes out with dull scissors. I get turned down again and again. Then I have to keep repeating the process until I get results I’m looking for. And of course comes all the other crap that inevitably follows. Finding the roommates, wait for my current lease to run out, dreading the actual moving out-moving in process that’s if everything works out.

Right now I’m having a “Cold Feet” dilemma. I feel like I’m fighting off hundreds of negative things trying to build up in my mind.

“Why can’t I just log online to pay my tuition already?”
“Why isn’t anybody speaking to me like they used to?”
“What happens if I’m stuck living at the Cottages of Boone?”
“What if I fuck up all my classes?”
“What if I’ll never be able to write this story? I can barely get through a page without grinding my teeth!!”
“Why can’t I just say, ‘Fuck this noise! I’m doing this damn thing!’?”

And this keeps going on and on and I have to keep going back to my mantra….

I will not lose my shit. I will not lose my shit. Iwillnotlosemyshit.Iwillnotlosemyshit.Iwillnotlosemyshit……

Earlier today I get word from the manager of the house I’m moving into.

He says: “Could you get everyone together to meet at house early next week, like Monday or Tuesday? Being prepared to sign lease and pay security deposit of 2,000.”

So after waiting for the last three weeks, busting out the Playstation classics, Netflix binging childhood favorite shows like Power Rangers and Ghostbusters, getting bitten by mosquitoes, and fighting off other negative thoughts stemming from fear from school, the story, and and whatever I actually get my answer. I get to hear something that’s as close to a “Yes” or “Congratulations” that I’m probably gonna get.

I should be happy, right? I want to celebrate but at the same time I’m waiting for the Universe to pull some shit and say, “Psych!”

And then I’d be staring up at the sky, mouth agape before yelling out, “Motherfucker, what?!!!”

This has been my regular routine for the last three or four years now. It’s this cycle that I’ve grown accustomed to. I hate it. I feel like this cycle is one more challenge that I have to endure. One more thing that I have to fight. My struggles with anxiety and depression…I always compare them to battles against monsters. I visualize them as such. Even if I wasn’t a writer with a strong and vivid imagination I would probably set myself up in this manner anyway. Every challenge is a monster that I have to fight and kill (figuratively). And there’s no one around to play my hero. It’s just me. And unlike the heroes I’ve admired from other stories that fight actual monsters I haven’t won every one of my battles and that has never sat well with me.

Doesn’t matter if it’s cold feet, depression, or if it’s just me being a neurotic mess. I hate it all. It feels like my curse.

I want to be happy. I want the type of happiness that comes with no strings attached. I want the happiness that replaces the images of things gone wrong in my life. I want the happiness where the positive outweighs the negative and makes every experience worth it.

Moving into this house won’t be the magical answer that does all of this for me. But I want to believe that it will be the first step in the right direction. I also want to believe that I’m going to succeed in whatever I set out to do. I want to believe that by this time next year everything will be worth it.

I also want to believe that somewhere down the line that I’ll meet my future husband who is the spitting image of Finn Balor (Charlie Hunnam works too) and then we ride off into the sunset to live somewhere nice and he pays off my crippling college debt without a second thought.

Fuck all this noise in my head! I’m doing this damn thing! And then I’m gonna celebrate in the way I deserve to! I’m gonna make up for all the damage and unhappiness in my life! I am going to turn all this around for myself! And I am not going to let something like this rule over me anymore than it already has! I will have my happy ending, depression free! My decision is final!

GameTimeReview: Persona 5

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This review is long overdue, but here I am! Confession time, I love the Persona franchise as if it were the only thing that my existence depended on! Which is why I’m gonna try to keep this review as short, sweet, and concise as possible because otherwise I will lose focus, rant, and might unintentionally give away spoilers. Plus anyone who is even a little bit familiar with the series knows there is a LOT of gameplay elements to cover, Persona 5 makes no exception. So without further ado here it goes!

Intro: Persona 5 was publicly announced back in 2014. But then was met with one delay after another until it’s fated April 4th, 2017 release date. Everyone knew that the game was going to happen, but then was met with not only multiple delays, but one too many spin off games from previous Persona games (which we didn’t ask for Atlus, let’s be real. We could’ve done just fine without the dancing game!). After much anticipation and hype I’m happy to say that the wait was very much worth it.

Plot: Like many other JRPG franchises it is not necessary to play any of the previous Persona titles to know what’s going on here. Every title is complete with it’s own story, characters, and identity. You portray the Protagonist (who you are free to name. I went with Subaru Mikage) who has moved to Tokyo after running into some legal trouble. He is there for the duration of an entire year for which he will attend school and fulfill a probationary period. The Protagonist and his friends come across this other world called the Metaverse which they travel into in order to fight monsters known as Shadows. It’s within the Metaverse that the characters awaken to a power called Persona, which is the manifestation of their inner selves. The characters form a group called the Phantom Thieves of Hearts and decide that they will change society by stealing the hearts of rotten adults. For more explanation on that last part you’d really have to buckle down and just play the game yourself. It’s taking every fiber of willpower I have to not go into a fanboy rant…

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Gameplay: Persona gameplay is one-part social simulator and other part dungeon crawler. It requires that you balance life as a high school student and as a Persona user. When living life in Tokyo you can hang out with friends and form special bonds called “Confidants” (I refer to them as Social Links because that’s really all they are) or do other activities, either with friends or by yourself. However, everything you do outside of dungeons pays off in big ways. When you “rank up” your Confidants with someone you gain all sorts of benefits. Characters in your party will perform a follow up attack or cure you from a status ailment, get discounts from shops, score tons of healing items, etc. Also the higher your Ranks are with Confidants the more levels a Persona gains upon fusion. Finally dungeon crawling is where you act as a thief. You have to avoid enemy detection, evade enemy traps, solve puzzles, pick locks on treasure chests, and secure routes where you will fight the boss on another day.

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Combat in Persona games is one of the most rewarding things ever. Once you exploit an enemies weak point you gain another turn which gives you the chance to do more damage or heal a comrade whose badly hurt, it all depends on your style of gameplay. Of course the enemy can also do the same thing. So take care to learn skills that helps with building defense against weak points as well as making your characters stronger. It pays off and you do not want enemies to gain any advantage over you. It’s aggravating! Believe me! For some tips and tricks, keep reading and check the links below.

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You will also be spending a lot of time in the Velvet Room, which is where you will go to fuse Personas. Fusing and collecting Personas is a lot of like catching Pokemon. Except instead of catching cute little fuckers like Pikachu or Eevee you get all sorts of monsters, demons, gods, and mythological figures from all walks of life that come in different shapes and sizes. I mean just check out this fucking freak of nature….

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Gameplay is entirely up to you. If you want to experience dungeon crawling goodness, Persona 5 delivers. If you’re like me and love playing JRPGs for experiencing a great plot with compelling characters, this is your game. The game allows you to switch difficulty on the go whenever your are in dungeons and switch back whenever you feel like it. That is of course unless you play in Safety Mode which you cannot undo. (Safety mode is for babies!!!!) Also there is a fast forward button which helps speeds things along. Especially when you’re doing events with Confidants. I bring this up because even I, a dedicated gamer and lover or stories, got tired hanging out with people for Confidant rank ups. Sometimes you will not want to hear about someone’s petty problems and just scream out loud, “Shut up and give me my Rank Up!!” (I’m looking at you Mishima!! Don’t think I’ve forgotten you ditching me when I wanted you!! I hold a grudge Moon Boy!!)

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So don’t feel bad if you’re impatient and just want to experience the actual main story or just want to go into combat. Use the fast forward button, it’s there for a reason. Take advantage of it. It’s a God send when doing replays. I call this the “Sweet Brown Approach”. Reasons because…

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Visuals: Persona 5 has other Persona games beaten as far as eye candy is concerned. The artwork is gorgeous, the characters look so great, and the surroundings…OMG!!!

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I was fully immersed into exploring every little bit of Tokyo that I could. I felt like I was really there. Take the time to explore Tokyo, not just to marvel at the surroundings, but also to engage in the activities like going to eat at Big Bang Burger, relax in the bathhouse, hit the batting cages, or even go fishing. These activities aren’t simply there to kill time, but also to help raise stats which you will need for ranking up Confidants. Also hanging out with Confidants will help unlock different parts of Tokyo for you to explore later. If you’re a Trophy collector you’ll want to invest in this because there is a trophy for unlocking every location on Tokyo’s map (which I’m working on myself). There’s also the art style that goes into every dungeon you explore and all the enemies you encounter. The Metaverse is a world where a person’s cognition and suppressed thoughts and emotions are given shape which happen to reflect things that are wrong with society. It’s not just good eye candy, but also hooks you in with symbolism and I like that shit! I like it like I love putting nutmeg and cayenne in my curry rice….

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Music: Persona is another one of those games that has the best OSTs out there. You will hear songs that will get stuck in your mind. You will look up lyrics so you can sing along. You will find yourself humming the theme from the Velvet Room or when exploring Tokyo. I bought the OST off iTunes as soon as I had the chance and I don’t regret it. I play this soundtrack when I’m cooking in the kitchen, when I’m writing, when I go to the market. It’s amazing!! Don’t simply take my word for it! Listen for yourself! Check the sample below…

Persona 5 is a complete package! The gameplay is addicting, the plot is immersive, the characters are well written and will connect with you, and the game demands replay. I’m on my fourth walkthrough already and I still haven’t experienced everything. The game also has multiple endings. During my first walkthrough which I did a blind play of I opted for the bad ending so I could get started on the second walkthrough so I had a better shot with Confidants and scoring missed items. Did I mention how amazing that fast forward button is? It helped a LOT. For trophy collectors you might not have to struggle too much to get the platinum on this one. It was well worth the long wait! But is it the perfect game? That’s up to you. I don’t believe in perfection. I think that’s entirely subjective. You can love something that the general public sees as complete garbage, but still love it like it is. There are some things that got to me while playing this game….

Here are pros and cons that will come included with some tips and tricks!

Pros of this Game
-All of the above points. I don’t want to repeat myself
-Confidants (S.Links) play a bigger role here and will make you want to invest in maximizing them to reap the full benefits.
-The fast forward button. Worth repeating.
-Being able to modify your Personas in the way that you want to.
-It’s good for long time fans of the Persona franchise and is good for first timers too.
-The Protagonist is not some cookie cutter Gary Stu-like character. He actually has sass and style. Look at his dialogue choices and you’ll see.
-Boss battles are more unique when you send a character off the battlefield to perform a specific task. You’ll know what I mean when you see it. Send whoever you like btw. It could be someone whose low on health or even a character you just don’t like.
-All characters get to level up at once even when you’re not using them. This helps a lot. You don’t have to invest extra time in a dungeon just so everyone gets their share of action. But even so, invest in the Star Confidant so you’ll be able to switch your characters out during battle. It helps so much!

Con of this Game
-Sometimes the camera is your bigger enemy when trying to sneak up on enemies. It’s great when it works and it’s a real bitch when it doesn’t work when you want it to. Be patient when trying to sneak attack your enemy. Stay in your hiding spot and wait for the time to make your move.
-The stat requirements for Confidants can be a real buzzkill. There’s a good chance that you won’t maximize Confidants on your first walkthrough. Certain conditions have to be met first. For example, if you find yourself unable to get the Hierophant Confidant past Rank 4 it’s because you need to get past a certain part of the game and recruit a specific character for upcoming scenes. #WasteMyTimein2017 for not knowing until it was too late.
-SP recovery items are hard to come by early on in the game. SP is what you need to perform elemental and healing spells. This is early on in the game. Try to use your moves sparingly. And back to the Hierophant link, you will want to spend time making coffee and curry, lots of it. And the Empress Confidant also adds to this when you start it up.
-Non stop text messages constantly flooding your phone. Sometimes you can’t get out of bed without your characters addressing the situation. For the love of God Ryuji STFU!!! I will get to it when I get to it!! I just want to make curry and coffee!! This is another example where fast forward is your friend.
-Waifu Wars. It’s intense!! They’ve made it really difficult to pick just one great female character into a love interest. I would also love it if it were possible to have same-sex romance because Yusuke Kitagawa is a sexy smurf haired samurai. Just saying! Btw you can romance all the girls you want, but FYI don’t expect that you can get away with it on Valentine’s Day.
-There’s a lot of DLC and it costs money. If I weren’t such a costume slut or had more money than Donald Trump this wouldn’t be an issue. Atlus knows how to push a fanbase’s buttons and it works….
-I expect a lot of spin offs after this. And even longer more grueling waiting period for Persona 6.

Final Score: 9.5/10

By the way remember when I complained about a certain problem when reviewing Nier Automata? Turns out the problem isn’t in the game itself, but my controller. The left analog stick is messed up somehow and acts up. Don’t know if I want to invest in a new controller cause those cost good money, but that’s what the deal is.

P.S.
I recommend these following guides in case you want a shot at ranking up all Confidants to the maximum level. These will help a lot. The first one is spoiler free, promise.

https://www.gamefaqs.com/ps4/835628-persona-5/faqs/74549
http://www.hardcoregamer.com/2017/04/04/persona-5-confidant-guide/252919/

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Later days!!

GameTimeReview: Nier Automata

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Hi everyone. I present to you my first game review! I’m starting off with a title that I’ve recently beaten and currently replaying. Here’s my honest opinion about the game.

Intro: Nier Automata was recently released last month. It is the sequel to Nier Gestalt/Replicant which came out for the Playstation 3, Xbox 360, and Playstation Portable exclusively in Japan (Which may have been the better version of the game, let’s be real.) Nier is also a spin off title that’s connected to a Sony exclusive game series, Drakengard (Drag-on Dragoon for all you weebs that love being technical y tan fancy). Both Drakengard and Nier are created by Yoko Taro, who is known for having an unconventional approach to making video games. What makes Nier Automata different is the collaboration done with Platinum Games which has been a tremendous help!

Plot: First off, it’s not necessary to play the earlier games to play Nier Automata or understand everything going on. The games are connected to one another, yes, but this title is its own game. The connections between Automata and the original Nier are minimal at best. Nier Automata takes place in a post-apocalyptic world where Machines have taken over the planet while Humanity has taken residence on the Moon. The Humans, in an attempt to reclaim the planet as their own, created their own Androids, the Yorha Series, to fight back against the Machines. The characters you control in this game are Yorha Series 2B, 9S, and A2.

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As the Machine War wages on secrets about the world are slowly exposed. Ooooo I managed to do all that spoiler free! *Pats himself on the back*

Gameplay: One of Nier Automata’s bigger strengths is the combat and that is all thanks to Platinum Studios who are known for making great action games with addictive combat, like Bayonetta and Metal Gear Rising. There’s a lot more flexibility here than there is in previous Nier and Drakengard games. The previous games gained a cult following for the storylines, but never quite stood out because of the gameplay. A lot of people will complain about repetition (people love to throw that word around like a boomerang), but I think the issue is how “stiff” it felt. The combined efforts from both Yoko Taro’s story telling and Platinum’s combat controls is a fresh breath of air and works perfectly!

The combat is similar to Bayonetta. You can equip and fight with multiple weapons and switch them out in combat with the touch of a button. Instead of guarding, you evade enemy attacks which requires you to play close attention to the battlefield and anticipate the movements of your enemies. As a throwback to the original Nier game you will also have a backup weapon in the form of a little robot assistant, a Pod, which you can equip with different types of attacks and functions when you find or purchase certain equitable items. The Pod can fire blasts at your enemy as long as your finger is on the shoulder button. And you’re gonna be using it a lot. You get to control different characters in this game and each of their fighting styles are different. 2B is built for combat and she is not going to take too much time to adjust to. 9S, however, is very different because he is not built for combat, but made for support. The interesting thing about how 9S fights is his ability to hack into enemies. When you engage in a hack it suddenly becomes a mini-game that’s like a bullet hell type of game. When you play as 9S you’re gonna be doing this a LOT because it’s really the best thing he can do to inflict big damage.

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The character A2 more or less fights in the same way as 2B, but she possesses a Berserk mode which you can use to make her attacks stronger at the cost of her health (and it’s a BIG cost). By the way, I freaking love A2’s character. Her taunting game is seriously on point.

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Like any other Japanese Role Playing game you level up and get stronger from combat. Also there are side-quests which you can take to gain some extra EXP and items. They range from your garden variety fetch quests to “go exterminate this pesky enemy way over there”. It’s one way to help with level grinding, but not all that necessary because you can change the difficulty level while on the go. Even when you are in the middle of battle! I’m not kidding! If a battle is ever too difficult you can change it to easy mode, be done with it, and then change it back whenever you feel like it. Also the gameplay will shift gears on you. There will be sections where you have to go into battle in a flying mech suit and you have to shoot down enemy ships like it’s a space invaders game. And there are quite of few of these. It’s actually the first piece of action you’ll get in the game. I didn’t mind it so much, but I have to admit it got a little tedious. I honestly prefer taking down my enemies with swords and acrobatics, but hey that’s just me.

Visuals: Normally I’m not someone who cares too much for environments and level designs and I hate it when people talk about how a certain character isn’t designed to look realistically or because the water in a river isn’t the right shade of blue or how tree branches don’t produce a shadow. Not everyone who enjoys video games and anime have an expert eye for art. I play certain games for gameplay and plot. But the environmental design in Nier Automata is very nice. When you travel through places like the City Ruins you really do get the feeling that you’re in a forlorn world laid to waste. It’s a destroyed world, but there is actual beauty in the destruction itself. Collapsed bridges that you can walk up like a tiny hill, apartment buildings submerged in desert sands, crucified corpses of Android bodies put up on display, etc. It’s an open world type of environment so you are more than free to go a round and explore the place and see things for yourself which I highly advise because you’re not going to take time to admire the scenery when you’re in the middle of battle. The designs of the enemies are interesting as well, especially the boss battles.

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Music: This is another big plus for the title. Even when people had their complaints about the previous Nier’s gameplay they always praised the soundtracks. The compositions is done by Keiichi Okabe with vocals provided by Emi Evans and J’Nique Nichole. If you are a lover of gaming OSTs, but haven’t listened to the music of Nier itself you are in for a real treat. The music adds to the atmosphere of the game and will invoke emotions during certain scenes and battles within the game. Evans vocal tracks are known for being beautiful and mesmerizing because she is singing in a fictional language. So if you ever feel the need to sing along, you totally can. You can mess up on the lyrics and it won’t matter at all! I like to listen to the music whenever I’m writing my fictional stuff and this music does get the creative juices flowing for me so I highly recommend giving the OST a shot whether you are a gamer or an aspiring writer. Here’s a sample below.

Nier Automata is definitely a great game to add to the collection. If you’ve been a Drakengard/Nier fan, you’ll love it. It really is a vast improvement to previous games and currently stands out as the best of Taro’s work. If you’ve never played the Drakengard/Nier game, don’t worry about it. You can still play the game and enjoy it for yourself. If you’re just in it for the gameplay you won’t be disappointed. The connections between Automata and past titles are there for gamers like me who are lore buffs. I wish I could get into the lore, but it’s loooooong and incredibly convoluted. As mentioned before you will get to play three different characters, but you don’t get to pick and choose the characters in the order you’d like to play. Instead you complete a walkthrough with one character, unlock another walkthrough, and then change characters. You will play as 2B first then 9S in the second walkthrough. With the third walkthrough you will get to play A2, but you will also switch back and forth between her and 9S. Mercifully the walkthroughs won’t take too long to complete. You can finish a walkthrough in a day, tops. I did, but I didn’t take the time to do everything that there is in the game. I just played to unlock the main story and there is still a lot that I haven’t experienced for myself.

Pros of this Game
-Intriguing story that will tug at the heart strings.
-Engaging combat system that will make you want to go out, collect weapons, and upgrade them. (FYI, even the weapons in this game franchise have a lore behind them. It’s nuts.)
– Characters 2B and 9S really play off one another real well. A2 stands out for being sassy and tough. Other characters like Emil, Pascal, as well as Devola and Popola add to the story and will get to you.
-The soundtrack will give your ears an orgasm.
-Great replay value if you’re a lore buff, trophy hunter, and a completionist. There are multiple endings. Five main endings and LOT of joke endings. Main endings being A through E. All the others cover the rest of the alphabet. Leave it to Yoko Taro to cover the whole freakin’ alphabet.
-2B’s butt. It’s a thing of booty…I mean beauty. (Self-destruct 2B just to ditch the skirt. Do it!)

Cons of this Game
-I’ve run into this weird problem with controls. For some reason my characters stagger or come to a sudden stop when I’m trying to run from place to place. I have no idea why it’s happening. It’s only now happening. Looking into exactly what might be the the cause, but nonetheless it’s annoying.
-Yoko Taro can be a real troll. Anyone who has played any Drakengard game will know what I’m talking about.
-I really wish you had the option to change characters in each walkthrough instead of having to wait and unlock them. Reason why is because of the numerous locked chests you will come across in your first play through, but cannot access unless you’re playing as 9S because of his hacking abilities. That really got on my nerves.
-The hacking game gets tired. If you want save yourself frustration here’s a tip. Set the game’s difficulty to Easy mode, turn the Auto-Chip on, and then go to town. This will shave off time in walkthroughs if you’re only in into this game for the lore or are in a hurry to get to a certain point in the game during replay or if you just have stuff to do in real life….
-Oh yeah this one section of the game that happens during your third walkthrough. Not gonna go into details. Just know the keywords: 2B+Infection. If you have trouble getting through it there is a guide on Youtube to help get through it. Link will be provided below….For real, this part pissed me off. (this guide will spare you frustration, trust me.)

Score: 8.0
I want to give it a higher score because it has what I’m always looking for in a game; great OSTs, plot, and replay value. Those are my key interests. But that’s not always the case with the average gamer. But is it for everybody? That’s subjective. Is it the best game ever? It’s best game Yoko Taro has made, yes. Does it have other titles beat? No, no game is that good. Another reason I’m not giving it a higher score is because I haven’t experienced every little thing this title has to offer. I haven’t even completed half of the side quests nor did I take time to upgrade weapons to their max potential. But I’m replaying the game now from scratch. Once I’ve felt like I’ve gotten the whole package I may come back and give it an updated review (much shorter too). Until then it is what it is. Hope this review helps. Later days!