24 March 2017

Mass Effect: Andromeda ~ The First 15 Hours

I am so happy right now. My grin is bigger and wider than my face. Considering how stressful the past year has been, this is exactly what I needed. If nothing else, Mass Effect: Andromeda has consumed my life enough that I have walked into work completely exhausted and tired three days in a row. And it was worth it.

Four years life through college later and the waiting is over at last. Finally. Fucking finally.

Since I am still relatively close to the beginning of the game (over 15 hours and nearly 20% complete according to my save file as of my writing this), I will make a multi-bullet-pointed first impressions post. Twitter does not accommodate my gift in writing essays, and my poor baby needs some love, so blog away I shall!

Minor spoilers ahoy!

12 March 2017

Making Adjustments and Testing the Streams

Over the past few years, I've been struggling with finding a way to express myself that I am comfortable with and not feel bored in the process. This blog has helped me a lot in high school, but I know I've been neglecting it due to my personal insecurities and the changes in my personal life. It doesn't help that college was just a busy time for me in general. The timing couldn't be more perfect: last year, when my activity here was at an all-time low, I had the most visitors.

There went a window of opportunity and growth that I missed.

Anywho. Since I graduated from college almost a year ago, and the possibilities are endless, I'm now trying to change how I approach my hobbies to see if I can do anything with them besides hiding in a corner and wailing. I started by posting my fanfic, Through the Empty Spiral, over a month ago on a semi-weekly basis. I can't be a better writer unless it's out there to get praise or ridicule. There are still a few posts I have not yet published, and I want to work on them so fewer untouched items sit at the bottom of the basket.

Yep. I dabbled in streaming. By myself. While sober.

Me. Doing anything based in video. Me, who had two panic attacks in my public speaking course in my freshman year and somehow still got a B. The me who stutters and rambles if I don't have a script handy. The me who has no following whatsoever and pretends that at least one person likes what I say on this vast, open, wild and free country known as the internet.

Past me would hate current me for my nerve.

Well, time and events do change people. The me from 2010 would not recognize the me of 2017. Honestly, not changing would have made me an insufferable person, and I still have enough energy in me to make changes and improvements when necessary and practical. If writing alone isn't enough to get me excited or to motivate me to learn, well, I do the very thing that I once claimed I would never, ever attempt.

(But there were those handful of times I did appear in a friend's streams, but I don't count them much.)

In my personal experience, being late to hop onto the bandwagon is better than never. There are still a lot of kinks to iron out with streaming (some of which can't be avoided due to my less than perfect internet connection and the PS4 not being a PC powerhouse), but I thought, "Why the fuck not? Try it out and see if you like it. If it works out, that's awesome; if not, at least you tested your limits." As of this post, I have two sessions saved on my Twitch archive, and once they vanish thanks to the 14-day limit they will sit on the Youtube account I have thanks to Google. I doubt anything will come out of this, but I'm willing to try a medium outside of my comfort zone. Writing comes much more naturally to me than speaking or making videos, so this unmarked territory will bring all sorts of challenges I never had the chance to know about or attempt to overcome.

I am uncertain how things will play out this year, especially when my current job will end this July and finding a new one will be me fighting the same anxiety demon as I did last summer. If this helps keep me sane and I learn a few things about myself along the way, then I'll feel like I accomplished something.

In the meantime Mass Effect Andromeda comes out nine days from now, and my bank account hates me for it. I will likely be off the map for a while, gushing and squeeing over the return to the world of Mass Effect in a new, refreshing way, but when in doubt, I will likely say something on Twitter.

Maybe if I'm ballsy enough, I might stream a bit of Andromeda... as soon as I make changes to the resolution and fix the audio. And pray my internet doesn't crap out on me. Baby steps, me, baby steps...

... March 21, come quicker, damn it!

09 March 2017

Farewell, HIM, My Lovable Music Nerds

Three days ago I caught wind of HIM calling it quits this year. They're holding one last tour across the globe to celebrate 26 years of music spanning eight albums, dozens of singles, and a bunch of bonus albums with remixes, live performances, and music videos. If I can make it to any of the shows in the US, that'd be great. If not... well... once is better than never, right?

To be honest, I'm not entirely shocked they're breaking up. It's been a few years since Tears on Tape's release, and I was concerned that it was playing a bit too much on the safe - if not stale - side. The lineup had not changed in over a decade until Gas left a few years ago. Without any major updates, I was waiting patiently, only to learn from one of my internet friends from Finland about this recent development.

I... I think I'm ok with this. I will never claim they're the best band to ever live. Not by a long shot.  I'm an unapologetic fangirl for this band, and Ville Valo raised my standards for men above and beyond the realm of reality, but I'm not stupid.

HIM were a goofy, strange band with an eclectic, diverse, and dynamic style that works wonderfully for some and fails disastrously for others. Scared moral guardians took His Infernal Majesty from their early days way too seriously (hell, even my own parents did at first, funnily enough), and a legion of fans came around thanks to Bam Margera's fanboy-ism going to insane levels in the early to mid 2000s. And, yes, some of the more intense fragments of the goth fans did sometimes get melodramatic about the band to the point that serious music critics could barely take HIM seriously. And most of all, some of Ville's lyrics are cringe-inducing in how corny, lame, intense, and sappy they can be; Razorblade Romance, even with its vibrant, migraine-splitting pink cover, is audio candy so sweet that you'll get diabetes and need a limb or two amputated before the halfway mark.

Despite all of that, they're my favorite band. They're my goofy, pseudo-goth band with their melodramatic brand of "love metal".

I literally fell in love with their music on Valentine's Day in my freshman year of high school. I pre-ordered two of their albums, both of which arrived at the very moments I needed them most: leaving school early due to illness, only for snow to cancel school the next day, and returning home from college to find items to help me complete my final assignment in an art course. They were the first concert I ever went to, and I was fuming when Ville came out on stage with his curly hair completely chopped off; I saved my babysitting money for tickets, and I bought my fingerless gloves, a sweatshirt, and a shirt that I still hold onto. They made me feel like a normal high school girl when I feared I felt too different, having pictures of Ville Valo cover the inside door of my locker, crushing hard on the tall, dark-haired baritone, and listening to all of their albums inside and out until I nearly memorized the lyrics to every single song. I was so happy to love a band that sounded as great live as they did in the studio, something that seems so rare for some reason. And I cannot stress how much I admire Ville Valo for being a singer and multi-instrumentalist as well as a songwriter in rock and metal, another unfortunate rarity these days.

HIM helped me endure period cramps that would leave me bedridden for two days. They inspired me to expand my taste in music further by listening to their influencers, including Type O Negative and Black Sabbath. They helped fuel some of my passion for writing, and they helped me focus on my long, overdone Persona 3 fanfic. They had fun with their art, making me laugh over interviews and live performance recordings throughout the years. They burned a big hole in my wallet that I proud of. They shined a little light on a country many people overlook due to them being so far north in the cold, and I wanted to learn more about Finland's language, culture, and art almost as much as anime made me fascinated in Japan. They taught me to not take my interests and opinions too seriously when others disagreed with me. They let me cry and be vulnerable when my parents divorced, when I left home for college, when I moved out of my mom's house, when I panicked about grades, when I searched for a job, and when I struggled with my confused feelings about love.

March 26, 2010, the day I lived a full life.
HIM helped me grow up. HIM made me a stronger person. HIM is a warm blanket that I have outgrown and has holes in it from overuse, but they always brought me joy when I needed them. I laughed and cried over a group of men I will never meet because their talents and abilities as artists created something beautiful and unique that can never be replaced.

And now... they're gone.

More than them breaking up and moving on to other projects, I lament how short those seven years of my being a fan were. There is no new album to look forward to anymore. It feels strange, eerie, like a sudden death of a friend. I'll miss HIM. I'll miss them so much. I will continue to treasure their music, and one day, I will have a heartagram tattoo in my skin. Every music fan has a group or song that means the world to them. HIM meant still means the world to me.

Ville, Linde, Mige, Burton, and Gas, godspeed, you adorable music nerds. Good luck to everything you boys do in joy and sorrow. Thank you.

*sniff* ... I managed this much without crying, and I'm failing. Shit, their music makes me wanna cry all the time now.
Damn it, I need to laugh.

I am so glad I saved all of these images on my computer over the years. XD

Haha, I love you, boys.

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