Sunday, January 26, 2014

This is January. This is Sparta (morelike madness, truly).

So, I do two separate blogs at the moment that talk about my month. This one you’re on is about my personal life. If you care more about my writing life, head right over here.

It’s hard to talk about my month without talking about the writing aspect, but I’m going to try.

January was a bad month, but I don’t think February will be. I don’t know why, but all month I’ve been in a funk. I nearly died at the beginning of it, and I mean that literally. I was in a car-sliding-race-to-the-death during the icestorm, traveling home from DC. It was awful and traumatic. I think that started me off wrong.

I’ve been doing nothing but reading for the past week. I’m working on the Song of Ice and Fire series, AKA Game of Thrones. It’s awesome, but I’ve hardly wanted to do anything else. I went out for coffee with a horror photographer, who was way cool but I just don’t feel like I’m in the mood to date anyone right now.

I’ve been teaching myself piano. No, really. I’m getting better! I think I like it because of the challenge. I stopped playing guitar much because I felt like I hit the level of talent I wanted. I didn’t have a care to learn how to be better at it, so the fun of growing in talent left me. Piano is new and I have to learn from the ground up, so it’s fun. I hope to come out knowing a few fun tunes to bust out at parties.

What else? Man, I’m just looking forward to the future.

I’ve decided to go back and get my masters in the fall. I want to work the summer job with Clayton again, and then get back in school. I hope to work an assistanceship, go to grad classes, and then work at the AMC up there by night. That should keep me plenty busy, anyway! I want to move onto campus if possible. Depends on the costs and availability.

I am probably getting a car soon, so hopefully that should make me more mobile. At the moment, I think I’m feeling a little trapped by my situation. But, I have a plan to get myself out of it all! I also need to lose weight… ehhh… Lots to focus on, but I’m serious about the weight thing. Lots of fat people like me say that they want to change, but won’t. I don’t want to be that person.

Anyway, that’s all for January. Good riddance! I plan on having a better year from here on out, though! I hope you have a good year, too.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

My List of Favorite Games I Played in 2013 (and my GOTY)

So, this list isn’t a list of my favorite games that came out in 2013… this is a list of my favorite games I played this year. This year has been…

Want to know who won in other years? Here’s the 2018201720162015, and 2014 list.


My gaming backlog was pretty heavy coming into 2013, and so I mostly worked on finishing and playing games from before this year. Actually, there weren’t too many games from 2013 I wanted to play, which was sort of nice with so many old games I had yet to beat.

So, without further ado, my 2013 list of favorite plays (in no particular order):

Project M – Smash Bros Brawl

Project M is a mod for Brawl that changes how the game is played. It rebalances characters and speeds them up to be more like Melee for Gamecube. It adds costumes, tournament-ready stages, and extra options. It also added back awesome characters like Mewtwo and Roy. Finally, with 3.0, I can now play as my main, which are the Ice Climbers, so now Project M has become relevant to me. It’s fantastic. The best way to play Smash. You don't even need to install any mods to play it. Find it here:

Infamous 1 + 2 + Festival of Blood

Right after I knew I was getting a divorce, I blasted through the three Infamous games for PS3. I have to say, they were very special to me, because of the difficulty I was going through in my life at that moment. Because of the divorce, I was forced to move away from Seattle back to a cornfield in the middle of Southern Illinois. I missed the city very badly, but the cities from the Infamous games brought me back. That developer is from Seattle-area, and so the worlds in those games feel like walking the streets of Seattle. I got all of the trophies on those games, I loved them so much. Anyway, thank you, Sucker Punch, for making such special, meaningful games. I cannot wait to play Second Son for PS4. It’s the reason why I want PS4 over Xbox One.


I’ve put nearly 200 hours into Skyrim. Let me tell you, when you get divorced, nothing is more satisfying than immersing yourself into a fantasy world with nothing to think about but killing giants and leveling up your blacksmithing. I believe that Bethesda is the best game developer in the world, hands down. I cannot believe how deep I fell into this game. The music. The landscape. The creatures… Everything just comes together to feel like fantasy is reality. I still have so much to do in this game, but I get distracted just running around killing deer. Sometimes I just walk around and explore the fields, no particular mission to do. It’s just so much fun. I haven’t even beaten it yet. I plan on putting another hundred hours into it soon.

Mario 3D Land for 3DS

Note, I do not mean the new Mario 3D World for Wii U. That game looks awesome, but I don’t own a Wii U. I had already beaten 3D Land coming into 2013. In fact, I’m pretty sure I had beaten it in 2011 when it was released, but it’s such an amazing game that I replayed the entire thing again this year. Honestly, I believe that 3D Land is the perfect Mario game. I liked it better than Mario Galaxy, even. Just the way that the foundational mechanics work (shrinking and growing instead of a life meter, flagpole grabbing instead of touching the star, shorter levels rather than giant worlds to explore) makes the game better, overall.


How much did I pay for Minecraft again? 13 bucks? I got it during alpha. This is the one game I’ve spent the most time with more than any other. It’s the best money I’ve ever spent on a game. I used to run a sever, and I made tons of friends with random players from around the world. I can’t even begin to say the amount of crap I’ve built. It’s almost embarrassing. I’m still loving Minecraft in 2014, though less than I used to, it’s still fun. I just love the “go out and do anything” mentality in games like these.

Honorable mentions: (still just games I played in 2013, not necessarily released)

Batman: Arkham City - Great fun, but the hand-to-hand combat is not fun. When your stealth is given up, you lose the fun factor.
Diablo 3 for PS3 - The best Gauntlet Legends-type game, but not the greatest Diablo game
Kid Icarus: Uprising - Hilarious voice acting, amazing Sakurai-style gameplay. Controls aren't the best, though
Little Big Planet 2 - Still the best logic-game toy out there. I hope they make a 3D version so I can make my own Banjo-Kazooie!
Red Dead Redemption - Fantastic western. Best horseback riding ever. I'll probably go back and finish it, but I stopped playing at Mexico.

My Game of the Year for 2013

This is my choice for the best game I played that was released in 2013. This has nothing to do with the list above, since hardly any of those were released in 2013. This is just the best game that was released this year, in my opinion:

Streetpass Mii Plaza’s DLC

No, I’m not joking. In 2013, Nintendo came out with new games for Mii Plaza for 3DS. As someone who frequents conventions and nerdy events, new Streetpass games were exactly what I was craving. The original Puzzle Swap and Find Mii were excellent, and the new games (Mii Force, Warrior’s Way, and Monster Manor) are awesome, too. I love getting “hits” on my 3DS, which get me fun puzzle pieces and fighters for my games. Out of all the games released in 2013 that I played, Mii Plaza’s DLC is my favorite. It doesn’t beat Infamous, but for a Game of the Year, you’ve got to pick one released in the actual year, so Mii Plaza’s DLC gets the gold from me. The one exception is Flower Town. That game is awful. I tried to get into it, but I ended up skipping the dialogue as quickly as possible.

Thanks for stopping by my blog!

Monday, January 13, 2014

January Ventablogging – Getting back into the groove

It’s already halfway through January. Weird.

I guess it feels weird because I was out-of-town for the first 6 days of it, add seven more and here we are. That’s not that much, I suppose. I started out the year at MAGfest, which is a video game and music convention. It was awesome, but the last part of the trip was so stressful and taxing that I was burned out in general afterwards. I’m still feeling a little traumaburn from it, honestly. There was some major drama and then a car ride over a sheet of ice that nearly got me killed… fun story… The rest of MAGfest was extremely fun, but man… that last bit took it out of me.

the push

I’ve been trying to force myself back into the groove ever since that vacation. I haven’t worked on my writing / editing / etc. very much since being back. I was also sick, to top it off. I spent an entire day sleeping, just to recover all the sleep I missed. I haven’t felt very artistic.

What little art I have been making has been going into my new YouTube channel. It’s actually a pretty cool thing I’m working on, and I hope that it helps me promote myself as an author. I’m dedicating myself to making a new video every single day. Sometimes it’s a vlog, sometimes a musical poem or a Let’s Draw.

Here’s a few examples from “oxyborb2”:

I also own “oxyborb” without the 2, but that channel is my higher-quality, less quantity channel.

Selling personality AND my book

Making a video every day has forced me to come up with creative ways to think about film. I set out to start video blogging because some of my favorite authors do them, and I really like the way they sell their personalities along with their books. I want to be that kind of author. I want to be personable. I know it’ll help me when it comes time to promote my novel, but I really enjoy talking with people about art.

I’ve always been a good public speaker, but I’ve never felt entirely comfortable in front of a camera. As someone who wants to be in the public eye with his writing, this daily video/vlog thing should help me perfect my camera personality when the time comes. 

Think creative

But I’ve been doing other cool things on my new channel. Shorter videos, that I might have otherwise never posted, are getting put up on my second channel. I’m making stop-motion. Doing animation. Reciting my poems and short songs. Learning how to edit film—which might teach me a bit about crafting dialogue! I am enjoying it, for now. I hope I keep it up.

Other than that

I’ve got to get pushing myself. I think one thing about this whole process is how lonely it is to be an unpublished, unknown writer trying to make his first novel a reality. Nobody has read my book, so I have nobody to talk about it with yet. All my friends just think I’m crazy for being so dedicated to something, and I don’t want to pester them with links to my blog and stuff. That’s one thing—I wish more of my friends were readers. I can’t really get my friends to read my book, because none of them really make reading a priority. That just makes writing all the lonelier, I suppose. There will be no gratification or validation for the insane amount of hard work I’m doing until I get an agent and get published… but that’s the way of it, I suppose. You just have to keep pushing. Keep believing.


That’s what we’ve all got to do, right? Believe in our novels, ourselves. Nobody else is going to believe in you until you’ve proven yourself, sadly. The only way to prove yourself is to get published. Ahhh… Alright, I guess writing this all out has made me feel better. I just needed a reminder that writing will be lonely until I break through into the business and gain actual readers.

One last thing!

I’m still looking for a critique partner. Are you out there? Do you like fantasy for teens? (Big bonus is you happen to live in the St. Louis-area!) Well, I’m looking for a critique partner. Here’s a link to a post all about that:

Take care! Drive safe on icy roads! Pussssh!