Monday, December 31, 2018

VIDEO: Journey to Japan

So, back in June, I went to Tokyo with my girlfriend. Click this to see a blog post I wrote awhile back! 

Recently, however, I had time to finish compiling a video. I took a billion hours of footage, but I wanted to trim it all down into one well-edited video of my entire adventure to Japan. 

This video is still 38 minutes long, but it goes day-by-day over the ten I stayed there. 

My fav highlights: Monkey fight, cat karaoke, and our plane rolling on our flight home. 


Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Six Pics from my Month

autumn selfie

my workshop, cleaned mid construction

bought my mother these as a birthday gift, hid them in her cabinet

true art

oh yeah it snowed and the school I work for shutdown for the day

the musical set I worked for months on! Whew!

Sunday, October 7, 2018

"Bakkaddit Ballet"

I drew a ballet, of sorts. It kind of sums up my life at the moment.

Sometimes I call myself the master juggler. I just get called upon to do all sorts of random things. Not to be vague, but it's true. When you're fat, and you try to get back into working out, your body fights against you. The pains come. You worked too hard too fast and you pinch a nerve and cannot move. You give up.

That's not exactly what this drawing is about, but similar. I want to do all the things, but I know success, true sky climbing success, comes from tunnel vision.

"Where I want to be" perhaps never should be where you are, in a way. If you're exactly where you want to be, then what point is there to going anywhere? What do you look forward to? I guess I'm not yet where I want to be, but I'm where I need to be right now. Dancing between the tiles, avoiding hot lava where I can.

Just gotta figure out how a master juggler can have tunnel vision. 

Sunday, September 30, 2018


I am
is a powerful statement, right?
Declaring who/what you are.
Period. Air tight.
I suppose creating yourself
is a better way, right?
I am ____________.
long hair
when to care
I am the authority on me
I will be
I can be
whatever I say
I am a man.
I’m not perfect but I try hard
wherever I can.
I am an artist,
a writer,
long hair
an autumn spirit
a run-on sentence.
I tend to hear it
said I’m I’m
Air tight.
I’m letting myself go
But, no,
you’re right

Friday, August 3, 2018

JAPAN! Journey overseas!!!

there's a blog at the bottom of this post detailing my trip
at a Pokemon Center under the Skytree
A giant robot snake fighting a robot tank
a shrine on a mountain
one of the buildings on the mountain

I went to Japan back in June, and it was an amazing experience. I stayed mostly in Tokyo. Here's a blog of my adventures:

A blog of our day-by-day adventures:

June 9: Flight there - 1 hour and 40 minutes to Canada, then 13 to Tokyo

June 10: Our plane landed in Tokyo and we ate food and went to bed around 9:30.

June 11: Cari, Rachael, her kids, and I went to Joyopolis, which was like a Dave & Buster's place, because the museums we initially were thinking were closed, it was very rainy. We ate awesome donuts in the subway, very Japanese style. Later that night, we went to sushi with Dan and his son.

June 12: Cari and I took the eldest son to the Meiji Jingu shrine. Later, Dan took us to Akihabara, which is like he center of Tokyo's geek culture.

June 13: We wanted a slower/rest day before Disney tomorrow, so we did more close-range stuff. Rachael and her kids took us to an amazing restaurant where you order through a vending machine. We accidentally ordered 2 beers which we meant to order chicken, but the beers were really fantastic so it was a happy accident.

June 14: Disney Sea! A Disney park only in Japan! It was literally the perfect Disney day. Cloud cover enough to keep it cool but still be bright, parking right up front, first in line to go into the park, no waiting in hardly any lines for any ride (except Tower of Terror), and we won a ticket lottery for a special show and got seats in the front! A wonderful day!

June 15: We went swimming and hot tubbing at a hotel. Very relaxing after a Disney day. Cari and I did a solo walking tour of Shibuya, eating a bunch of random things.

June 16: The whole family went with us to Mount Takao. A mist covered the mountain as we climbed, vanished as we descended. We reached the top and rang a bell at a shrine. Saw real monks. Also, we got to feed monkeys. Truly a special day, one of my favorites.

June 17: Rachael was an amazing planner, and did a tour for us of a beautiful city garden, followed by a boat tour down the river, and then ending at the Skytree. We did some shopping and the mall got evacuated for a fire, haha! Saw the Pokemon Center.

June 18: Rachael and her kids took us to an arcade and then to Karaoke. I played Mario Kart with her kids and more claw machines. We sang a bunch of Disney songs after. Later, the adults went to the Robot Show in Shinjuku. It was really ridiculous and amazing.

June 19: Cari and I took one last solo trip through Shibuya and ate lunch at a noodle place. Then we did a 12 hour flight back to Cananda, 2 hours to STL. The flight home was better but left us jetlagged. Cari's folks picked us up and took us to Denny's. Whew!

Truly, this was an amazing trip, one we'll never forget! Thanks to Rachael and Dan and their kids for hosting us and making this special!

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

f l o a t 2 0 1 8

went on a float trip

Blue Springs Ranch, very good spot

I swam most of the way, to be honest. Felt good to swim

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Ghost Tour - Lemp Brewery areaI don

I don't believe in ghosts, but I find them fun

smallest STL haunted house, Aquafina bottle proves ghosts live here

I like this pic I took, that cloud

didn't see any ghosts, but I hold out hope

Lemp Mansion is a Pokemon gym

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Life Update 2K18

me and my girl at St. Patrick's day.
She found that hat I'm wearing
and forced me to wear it

I haven’t done a blog about my life in a while, so I figured it’s time to do a new post.

So, it’s nearing the end of April, which means one more month until my school lets out for the summer. That means I get my first paid summer off.

I already know the major event I have planned: Traveling to Japan!

I’m soooooo excited! My cousin and his wonderful family moved there, so me and my girlfriend are going to go stay with them. We’ve already lined up a bunch of fun touristy places we want to go, WHICH INCLUDES DISNEY SEA!!! I’m super hyped to go to Disney! Disney Sea is a park that is only located in Japan, so this’ll be a cool experience.
me on the stage at The Muny

I’m a bit scatter-brained, so here’s a bunch of random things I want to mention that have happened this year:

I got a backstage tour of The Muny and had lunch with the president of The Muny and many top people. I got to do this because I obtained three internships for my students. It was very cool!

I made this for my tech crew students to sign
so they could leave a mark on the school
my old HS used to let tech crew
sign the wall of the light booth
Also, I’ve been dating my girlfriend for half a year, which is great! I’m so happy to have her. We’ve been going on fun adventures nearly every weekend.

On a sad note, three of my longtime family pets passed away. My poor cats, Minerva and Melisandre, and my dog, Conner. Poor babies.

me at Prom
I won a trophy at work.

I went to my first prom as a teacher.

I’ve been playing D&D with an amazing group of friends. I’m playing a gnome wizard.

I guess those are the big things, more or less.

I’m sure I’ll post a bunch about Japan when I get back from it. It’s going to be an amazing trip!

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

2017 Game of the Year

So, this list isn’t a list of my favorite games that released in 2017… this is a list of my favorite games I played this year. Some are old games that I just finally got around to, some are new games.

Want to know who won in other years? Here’s the 2018201620152014, and 2013 list.


My favorite games spanned a very large pool of genres this year. RPGs, demi-sports games, 3D platformers, open world GTA-style games, stealth, city builders, top down RTS, detective games... This year was one of the best ever for gaming, no joke. It's been a busy year, and my tastes have been all over. 

So, without further ado, my 2017 list of favorite plays (in no particular order):

I'm the BIGGEST Banjo-Kazooie fan, so this game was a no-brainer for me. I loved playing this game, and I 100%'d it. There was a bit of turmoil, with a game-breaking bug that kept me from getting the last Pagie until the patch came months later, but I liked everything except that. It was surprisingly hard in some spots, a little cheap in others, but fun all around. I can't wait for what this dev does next.

Watch_Dogs 2
I picked this one up mostly because I trust Ubisoft with open world action games. I liked the look of it, and the style as just what I wanted. Mostly stealth, this game requires you to go into buildings or areas and obtain hacker-y stuff. Using a few drones and hacker tools, you complete objectives. Players are rewarded for avoided the use of guns... you're not unlikely to die with guns blazing. But stealth is key. The threaded in online was surprisingly fun too. It's woven into the mostly singleplayer game. Players just pop in and out of your world. Very cool. Characters and story were good too.

South Park: The Stick of Truth
Got this free with a preorder (which, strangely ended up being cancelled because it was delayed so much), but I loved it. Feels like Super Mario RPG but with South Park characters. Really funny humor, good story, just the right length of game. 

Batman Arkham VR
My friend let me borrow his PS VR, so I played this. It was fantastic. I got all the trophies and secrets. Made me want a bigger Batman VR experience, honestly. I loved solving the puzzles. This developer is amazing. 

Rocket League
Once again, this game is on my list. The reason is BECAUSE IT IS ALWAYS FUN. I respect this game dev because they continue to add stuff to this game, much of it is completely free, too. I can always play a round of RL and have a very enjoyable experience. 

Honorable mentions: (still just games I played in 2017, not necessarily released)

Freddy Fazbear’s Pizzeria Simulator - played but really enjoyed watching it played on YouTube. The game dev because FNAF is one of the best devs out there atm. Smart storyteller. 
Just Cause 3 - got as a freebie with PS+, very fun open world - need to finish it!
Batman Arkham City/Knight - replayed after playing Arkham VR, still amazing games
Skyrim PC + Mods - replayed a bunch on my new gaming PC, still a wonderful game, mods add so much more!
Totally Accurate Battle Simulator - played the demo a hundred times, waiting for the full release
Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate - a solid game that is fun to take over the city
Starcraft - replayed and enjoyed
Banished - a fun few hours on STEAM
Destiny 2 - got as a freebie with my new gaming PC's video card, fun dungeon crawler
Mario Run - I enjoyed playing this on the go
Portal 2 - rented this from my local library and had a blast, load times were awful though
Steep - felt like skiing, played this instead

The Oxyborb Blog Game OThe Year for 2017

Horizon: Zero Dawn

This game really took the gold this year in every way. One of the best stories ever written for a video game, mixed with very refined gameplay. I'd never cared for the games this dev made before this, so it surprised me how good this is. 

There's so much to love about this game that it's hard to put into words. The beauty of the landscape, the realism of what could happen, the sci fi that blows the mind. Yeah, this game will be talked about for years to come. Play it immediately. My review.

So, I guess that’s it for 2017. Let me know what you think in the comments, in fact, tell me what your personal GOTY was!

Thanks for stopping by my blog!

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

The Squid Lady, a painting

So, just as an extra project, I’ve been painting. Here it is, finished:

darker lighting
* * * 

It was an awesome process to create, spent about a month doing it. She's actually a character from my novel, The Unraveler. I created her as a character a LONG time ago, and one of the first renditions of her was in a play I wrote. Her dress is all squid themed.

Being that she's a part of my novel, I also scanned her in and made a logo graphic:

* * *

 The actually finished painting is 3D! I'm all about inserting sculpture into painting. So, her tentacles all pop up and stuff. Her arm is like it's in the process for swinging up, making the viewer wonder who she's aiming at:

 * * *

I also wanted to document my process here, to show what I did.
I made the canvas myself out of scrap wood and cardboard
Painted black for a base
I knew she'd be 3D, so I painted it on hard plastic that'd keep it from breaking
pink base, gold light and blue for shadow

cutting out the parts

I looked at actual squid skin to design the tentacle. Took forever to paint white dots and fill them with black dots

Thanks for coming! Keep up with me in Twitter!

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

In Defense of Tim Burton's Miss Peregrine Movie

So, I've been delving into this series this past month. Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children is a weird book and a weird movie, both. 

Yeah, read/watch it, but this isn't a review. 

Lots of readers are mad because Tim Burton and the writers made HUGE changes from the book to the movie, and I want to chat about that.

So, after the jump, there will be MAJOR SPOILERS! No holding back! Go read/watch it first. This may include spoilers for Books 2 and 3!

Got that? Spoilers ahead!

I like the changes from novel to film, to be honest. I want to defend what Tim Burton did.

Let's get the biggest one out of the way: Movie Emma is the floaty girl, Book Emma is fire hands. They swapped her powers with Olive.

Book Olive is much younger [mentally], and Movie Olive has been aged up to be a love interest for Enoch.

In defense of the change: Let's be honest, Book Olive's powers are more interesting and visually fresh than Book Emma's. Fire powers, we've seen before in movies. X-men's Pyro and Phoenix, the Human Torch of Fantastic 4, Ghost Rider. Heck, even the generic fantasy Wizard's fire spells are similar. I use Emma's powers all the time in Skyrim, for example.

Now, we've seen flight/air powers before (Xmen's Storm comes to mind), but Movie Emma's powers are interesting and fresh because there is a quirk: she cannot control her flight. She must have someone holding her on a rope, strapped into her chair, or wear leaded shoes to weigh her down. It's no wonder that Burton's artistic sense tingled at the idea of putting those powers are the forefront of the movie.

Besides, let's be honest, having Jacob use a rope to guide Emma's flight is sexy (the actress/character is an adult, nothing wrong about it).

It's an awesome, unique visual. I bet it got stuck in Burton's mind.

Emma got extra wind powers that Book Olive didn't have.

Movie Emma needed a way to fight like Book Emma did. Also, it allowed them to use the sunken ship (more on that later).

As for Movie Olive...

Book Olive is mentally a child and is mainly used as a deus ex machina. Aging Olive up gave
 Enoch's jealousy some resolution and conflict and Olive some character complexity. In the books, he's jealous, but it goes unresolved and feels more petty, since there's no conflict. The movie fixes that.

Since I mentioned the movie's use of the sunken ship, let's talk about that... 

Book Emma and Book Jake use a hose to breathe underwater in the books. Then, they just hang out underwater. It's a little weird. 

The movie's change made it sexy (Emma breathes Jake some air), faster (Emma sunk from her weighted shoes), and also they were able to have dialogue and move the plot along since Emma could "dewater" the room. I can't imagine they'd be able to do this underwater scene without Emma's changed powers, honestly. Movies are shorter than books, they can't spend time without directly moving the plot forward.

Plus, using the ship was cool. We got to see more of the kids' powers in the end, too. The change works, and made the movie better.

Moving on, let's talk about Enoch. Why did they take out him resurrecting the man in the ice fridge? 

In the books, he animates 2 people and a couple of clay dolls.

In the movie, he animates 1 person, a crab-monster, a robot elephant, the babyface thing from Toy Story, and an army of skeletons.

Tim Burton had so much fun and did so many cool things with Enoch! Why would anyone complain. Burton not only added so many cool, new uses of his powers, but he also made Enoch a hero (attacking several hollows, including the one at the house), also gave him conflict (with Movie Olive), and also made him more likable in the end.

No, Enoch doesn't resurrect the fridge guy, but that whole scene in the books brought them one piece of info (wights and hollows were about to attack), which they knew anyway. It wasn't a big deal to cut it.

And honestly, almost every single peculiar child gets MORE use of their powers in the movie than in the books. They seem to be more creative uses and more screen time to boot. 

The Twins

They're a photo in the books, but characters in the movie. They're really just aesthetics, and this is Tim Burton. How could he not use those creepy twins? I personally loved the addition. It layered on the weirdness in the right way.

Bronwyn's age/role. She acts as the older of the children, the caregiver. In the movie, she's a young child.

I think for Olive to be aged up for the movie, Bronwyn had to be aged down. I think this was the right decision for several reasons: 

1. Book Olive needed protecting, whereas neither book nor movie Bronwyn needed protecting. She was powerful, either way. I love seeing another literally strong female character, and having movie Olive/Emma not need protecting was a great trade.

2. The older children were the complex characters. If there had been another older, more complex character, the movie could have become character soup. Aging down Bron helped.

3. A tiny child with crazy strength powers is visually stunning. So funny to have Jake being carried by her, or her plucking that enormous carrot.

OK, I guess we'll get to another major change, better say WARNING, BIG BOOK 2 and 3 SPOILERS HERE

Miss Peregrine's not stuck as a bird in the movie's end.

So, Miss Peregrine isn't even in book 2. She got birdswapped with a wight. We don't see her from the end of book 1 to the last third of book 3.

Changing this, allowing Miss Peregrine to not be a captured or thought-of-as stuck in the bird is 100% necessary.

For one thing, Eva Green is spectacular and if there's ever a sequel, WE ARE NOT GOING TO NOT HAVE HER IN IT. Seriously, she NAILED the role. What a talent! We're not, just no. No, she will not be stuck as a bird in any potential sequel. That, and the fact that she's a paid actress. Paid to act. Not to cameo in the end.

Secondly, the movie resolves the wights. They kill Baron, ending the experiment.

Basically, it tells a complete story. It ends the story in a way where no sequel is needed. If she'd been stuck as a bird and no sequel ever came, then it'd be a sad, sad ending.

Did I mention that Eva Green is a gift to this franchise and making her stuck inside a CGI bird would be a sin?

Eating eyeballs, not just eating

This is a Tim Burton visual aesthetic, but also... it's PG-13. Eating eyeballs is one thing, biting into guts is another. Movies have stricter rules to follow than books.

Plus, the eyeball eating thing almost has precedence from the novels. Remember book 3's ambrosia? Well, it was peculiar soul juice put... into peculiar eyes. Burton's change makes sense!

Baron VS. Dr. Golan

I liked this change, too, sorry! For one thing, Book Golan is a wight that is just another minion in Caul's game.

Burton wanted to change the story so that it had an ending, more complete than what book 1 left us with. He made a new villain that drew from book 3's main bad guy. Having Peregrine's brothers come into the movie would have made it character soup, too bloated, TMI.

So, instead, he creates a new character with a new name so that the heroes having someone other than just a minion to fight.

Besides that, Movie Baron IS Golan. Just more motivated. Plus, Samuel L. Jackson DELIVERED! He was astounding, funny! The perfect villain. 

The movie DID have a few small errors. Movie Emma says, "More than a few minutes in your time... [and she ages up and dies]" and yet Movie Emma and the other children spend more than a few minutes wandering the present-time demolished home looking for Jake. [and honestly, this was the most confusing, and oft broken rule in the novels anyway...]

Baron says, "The only thing I can't change are my eyes..." and yet he shapeshifts to a Jacob copy in the end and has Jake's normal eyes.

Also, whose chore is it to put down the white tape every day before Miss Peregrine crossbows the hollow? LOL, but maybe that's just me overthinking. 

Anyway, those are errors, but small ones and not consequential.

But I'll sum up my defense of the movie like this: Tim Burton made a lot of awesome, wonderful changes to create a film that maximized the visual artistry, improved the complexity and creative uses of the characters and their powers, and also rounded the plot off with a complete story. He obvious did so with a fierce knowledge of the books and his best efforts to create a film anyone can enjoy. And I love it! The movie is really fantastic.