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Thursday, April 26, 2012

The Fire Still Burns: My Philosophy of Life

 This is the final paper we wrote for our English 12 class this semester. It's not perfect, but I thought I'd share it here. It's nice to get a piece of writing out every so often, and this one is a little different from my usual fare. So, here we go.

Loss of empathy might well be the most enduring and deep-cutting scar of all, the silent blade of an unseen enemy, tearing at our hearts and stealing more than our strength~ Drizzt Do'Urden, The Silent Blade.

            On my honor, I will do my best, to do my duty, to God and my country, to obey the Scout Law, to help other people at all times, and to keep myself physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight. A Scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent~ Scout Oath and Law.

           When I was asked to concoct a Philosophy of Life, two questions immediately sprang to mind. The first was, “How am I going to do that?” The second was, “Do I even have a Philosophy of Life?” The first question was easily answered, as I write papers all the time and have proven to be at least semi-capable of farting out something legible in the span of a half hour or so. The answer to the second question proves to be more difficult, because I certainly do not want to just crap this paper out without putting any thought into it, and it provides an interesting point of introspection. Of course, everyone should have some sort of philosophy by which they guide their actions, even if that philosophy is not immediately apparent. So what moral code do I, then, live by?

Sunday, April 22, 2012

A Fresh Start and Future Plans

Well, it’s been a fun year for me. A few lows here and there, but overall I think this year has gone splendidly. This is easily the best time I’ve had at school, both because of my newfound privileges as a senior and a newfound work ethic that has enabled me to become a far better student than I was during my morose early teen years. I’m currently trying to find a job and plan for college, the next major step in my life, on the path to adulthood.

            It’s strange. I really don’t feel like an adult. It’s easy to look back and wonder where all the time went, but the truth is that I’ve sort of been dreading this moment. I’m deciding what college to go to this afternoon (between Aquinas College and Grand Valley State University), I still have to get my driver’s license, try to find work and earn some money, wrap up the projects my teachers decided to spring on us for the end of the year, study for exams… it’s a lot to take in.

            Fortunately, nobody said I had to grow up entirely. I’m planning on writing a young adult novel over the next couple of years. How well this turns out, I don’t know, but the story I’m hoping to tell is one that myself and a very good friend of mine, Alex, came up with when we were kids, and since then has sort of ‘grown up’ with me. This story defined the play of my childhood, morphed and changed as I did, and now I hope to actually turn it into a clear narrative, one that will (hopefully) span five parts. Then called ‘Mujara’ (some gobbledygook Alex and I came up with), the first book is tentatively called ‘The Paths Between’. The story follows a group of teenage kids who become embroiled in the ancient conflict of Heaven and Hell, and through their proximity to this battle begin to develop magical powers, and eventually are forced to choose a side. It was, and is, heavily inspired by the kinds of fiction I read growing up, and hopefully I can make it into a worthwhile story. I’m not sure if it will ever be good enough for publishing- the story is, technically, about fantastic versions of my friends and I- but at the very least I hope to have it somewhere on the Internet (who knows, maybe even on PG’s Game Room!), and possibly self-publish it.

            Speaking of PG’s Game Room, I apologize for the lack of productivity, but there’s really not much I’m going to be able to do about that. With the ‘Blog As My Senior Project’ thing out of the way, I need to focus on other things, and as I mentioned earlier I simply can’t keep a reliable schedule for new material. Of course, the blog is far from done. New reviews will still be written and posted as I continue to play games (I’m about eight hours into Xenogears at the time of this writing, and I should have a review up sometime in May), and as I work on my story I’ll post some material related to that as well. It may be the start of a new chapter in my life, but I don’t plan on cutting loose the old anytime soon.   

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Xenogears: First Impressions

So, Xenoblade Chronicles recently saw its US release to great critical acclaim and (so far) success. But, while I did preorder and receive a copy of this wonderful RPG, and play a little bit of it, I simply do not have enough access to a Wii in order to properly sink the required time into a massive title such as Xenoblade. You see, the Wii in our house belongs to my sister, and me being the ever-so-gracious person that I am, I decided not to impose upon her belongings and will wait to play Xenoblade and The Last Story for when I get my own Wii somewhere down the road.

That said, I wanted to start something. So, in the spirit of all things Xeno, I started playing Tetsuya Takahashi’s original masterpiece, the 1998 Squaresoft classic Xenogears. I’ve always admired Takahashi for being such an ambitious storyteller in his games, but I’ve never actually played Xenogears, despite having bought it on PSN shortly after it was rereleased.  So, what are my initial thoughts on this classic? Well, after playing the game for a couple hours this morning, I have come to a few conclusions: