Archive for September 2013

Of Life’s Main Quest   1 comment

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I timed my jumps within milliseconds after the flash of light brightened the area. A bolt of lightning hit the ground shortly, followed by the deafening sound of thunder. That was my 100th consecutive time dodging lightning in the Thunder Plains. I found the perfect area between two iron rods jutting out of the ground to the constant storm in the sky. I could get between 8-10 lightning strikes to the ground before I’ve dodged myself out safely under one of those iron rods. It takes less than a second before lightning strike follows the flash of light. I needed to do this 100 more times in row without getting hit by lightning. Otherwise, I start over again. Getting 200 lightning dodges in a row unlocks the Venus Sigil, which can be used with the Venus Crest to fully upgrade Lulu’s Onion Knight doll and have Break Damage Limit, Triple Overdrive, Magic Booster and One MP Cost.

I never got around to fully upgrading the Onion Knight doll. I only managed to get the Venus Crest, which allowed Shiva, one of Yuna’s Aeons, to break the damage limit. There were 7 Celestial weapons for each character in Final Fantasy X. It’s been more than a decade since I played this game, but I probably only fully upgraded 5 of them. I put most of my effort to completing other side quests for powerful Overdrives, abilities, accessories and other items to prepare myself for the end game. This also includes collecting more gil, the currency in most Final Fantasy games, and grinding my characters to exhaustive random battles to get them as close, if they were not already, at max level.

This was, or is, the tactic I used since I played my first role-playing game with Final Fantasy VII. I’m sure many other gamers did the same, with or without strategy guides. I always felt that I was getting my money’s worth if I did most, if not all, of what the game has to offer. Mind you, this was before they rewarded gamers with XBox achievements and PlayStation trophies. I took these as personal goals. Getting to know the background stories of the characters in the game through side quests was a good bonus as well. I wish I could say the same for me in real life.

I saw a Facebook post with a link to what I think was a picture or just a comic, comparing life to a game. Basically, we do side quests and other unimportant things because we don’t want to do the main quest. This hit too close for me. In most of my games, there is a point where I would know most of the story. Before moving on to the next area, I’m given an option to explore. I knew I could go ahead and end the game, but I chose to do side quests. Yes, I’m preparing for the final battle. More often than not, though, I’m always over-prepared.

Take Final Fantasy VII as an example. I didn’t need the Knights of the Round summon to defeat Sephiroth for the final battle. I didn’t need to get my characters up to level 99. Were the side quests worth it? Of course they were. Spending 30+ hours grinding all my characters close to max level inside the Crashed Gelnika was not worth it. That includes me accidentally overwriting the save file with 30+ hours worth of leveling. I knew I could handle the last battle. That’s the difference between these games and real life.

Right now, I’m at the point where I’ll have to take the next step. So far, going to work is a chore for me. I don’t see myself getting promoted any time soon since I’m only a contractor. I chose to isolate myself from most co-workers. I have nothing in common with them. They’re older, married and have kids. The office setting at work just doesn’t lend itself to lots of socializing. It’s a much different environment from when I worked at my first job. It’s been almost a year working for my company and not even once did we do some sort of community service or an end of the year company gathering. Even my mom’s job, which is much smaller than my company, have a company outing and retreat every year. It’s not like I need it or anything. At least something to keep myself invested.

With friends, it comes and goes. I don’t hang out with friends in college as much as I used to. I don’t have that many close friends near me. I feel more close to the friends I met online. I have friends from the mall I met through playing Pump it Up over the years. It’s a different kind of friendship. They are just as important.

Love life is non-existent. I don’t really consider casual flings a love life, but I’ve been in numerous “flings” just this year alone. The no strings attached arrangement and not seeing each other after is nice, but not what I’d consider always doing in the long run. I want something more concrete. But I’ve overly digressed.

The point is, unlike a game, I don’t know what the next step is. There is no official strategy guide for what I’m about to face. Heck, as a contractor I don’t even know if I’ll still have a job in two months. I don’t know if I’ll meet the woman of my life any time soon. I don’t know if I’ll be reunited with old friends, lose friends or gain new friends. That’s why I’m stuck doing side quests. I don’t know if I’m overly prepared or just not ready.

The main quest is a scary beast. Conan said it best: “Nobody in life gets exactly what they thought they were going to get. But if you work really hard and you are kind, amazing things will happen.” We don’t really know what the future has in store for us. Things just happen. The best thing you can do (and something I’ll do) is to live life to the fullest and being okay with the uncertainty. Also, “the best course of action is to tread lightly.”

I’m done.

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Posted September 28, 2013 by StupidSystemus in Musings, Personal

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Instructions not INCLUDED   Leave a comment

There’s something about off-beat, non-mainstream movies that draws you in. Movie theaters nowadays are saturated with superhero films, stoner flicks and bestselling-book adaptations. It’s not about the human element anymore. It’s mostly special effects and which famous actor is in it.

I decided on seeing Instructions not INCLUDED for lack of any other movie out. There’s also the fact that non-mainstream movies don’t attract obnoxious moviegoers who constantly have their phones illuminating the the dark or talk during the movie. Prior to watching, I viewed the trailer on YouTube. The story drew me in:

Valentín is Acapulco’s resident playboy, until a former fling leaves a baby on his doorstep and takes off without a trace. Leaving Mexico for Los Angeles to find the baby’s mother, Valentín ends up finding a new home for himself and his newfound daughter, Maggie. An unlikely father figure, Valentín raises Maggie for six years, while also establishing himself as one of Hollywood’s top stuntmen to pay the bills, with Maggie acting as his on-set coach. As Valentín raises Maggie, she forces him to grow up too. But their unique and offbeat family is threatened when Maggie’s birth mother shows up out of the blue, and Valentín realizes he’s in danger of losing his daughter – and his best friend.~source

It’s a Spanish/English movie. It’s part comedy, part drama. There’s really nothing much I can say without spoiling the movie other than YOU SHOULD WATCH IT!!! I don’t follow Mexican cinema, so I didn’t know who the actors and actresses were. That makes this movie even better. No expectations. Pure wonderment.

I’ve never laughed and cried so much in a movie since Bridge to Terabithia (though there was no reason to laugh in that movie… just cry). I’m planning on watching the movie again with my parents (if they have time) and my sister (if they have time). This could go down as one of the most underrated films this year.

I’m done.

A Day at the Park (by Kostas Kiriakakis)   Leave a comment

Original strip by Kostas Kiriakakis: http://kiriakakis.net/comics/mused/a-day-at-the-park

Mused-park-01 Mused-park-02 Mused-park-03 Mused-park-04 Mused-park-05 Mused-park-06 Mused-park-07 Mused-park-08 Mused-park-09 Mused-park-10 Mused-park-11 Mused-park-12 Mused-park-13 Mused-park-14 Mused-park-15 Mused-park-16 Mused-park-17 Mused-park-18

I’m done.

Posted September 21, 2013 by StupidSystemus in Comic

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When It’s Difficult   Leave a comment

Otakon ended 6 weeks ago. It was my fifth consecutive time going and seventh overall. I already booked my hotel for next year in advance, so I think I’m going. Maybe. Depends if I have other plans.

2009-2010 were my most depressing years. After the convention ended, I didn’t feel like doing anything. Physically, Otakon was exhausting. I wanted it to keep going. Many con-goers call it “post con depression.” I just wanted to keep my mind stimulated with all the fun stuff I was getting into at the Otakon. I didn’t want to face reality… put my mind back into sadness.

I’ve moved on from that mindset. I guess you could say I toughened up, having grown multiple layers of defense mechanisms to combat the daily stresses of life. This has its merits, but I don’t think it’s necessarily a good thing. For one, I catch myself being cynical. I saw this more on the healing stages three years back. Overall, I’ve grown to be more accepting and forgiving. I fight my battles when it’s necessary and ignore the rest.

I’ve always been particularly observant. I’ve toned it down a notch in my college years. Last month at Otakon, I noticed at least 5 people with cutting scars on their limbs, their shoulders, upper leg or the side of their abdomen. I reasoned in my head that maybe those were accidental scars, but I was being too polite. Those cuts were deliberate and lined up. I’m not a cutter, but I’d be ashamed and cover up those scars. Then I realized where I was.

It’s Otakon. Many of us there have our own stories. Everyone has their own demons. We fight our battles as best as we could. We’re all drawn to this convention for different reasons. For me, I wanted to escape my thoughts. People dressed up as fictional characters in anime, videogames and all of “otakudom.” Some bought their costumes. Others worked tirelessly to complete them. Others lost sleep finishing up their anime music videos or choreographed skits for the Masquerade event. I didn’t want to be me for the entire weekend. I embraced praise from strangers united under the same likes and dislikes, free from judgment and empty pitying words of biased friends and families.

I need something like that most of the time. I can only stomach the loneliness as much as possible before I’m drowned in my own thoughts. It doesn’t have to be grandiose. When it’s difficult to bring myself to wake up in the morning, to shower, get dressed up and walk out that door, we need our own little Otakon.

I’m done.

Posted September 20, 2013 by StupidSystemus in Musings, Personal

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Wrecking Ball – Country Version   Leave a comment

This is a powerful song. Miley’s music video could have used a different theme, though. Other than that, I like this cover by the Gregory Brothers:

I’m done.

Posted September 16, 2013 by StupidSystemus in Music, Other, Video

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