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Team J.A.F.


An Update From Earlier

Posted by xccj , Apr 30 2008 · 78 views

The irony nearly killed me. I have been checking my dorm mailbox regularly for weeks. (On the off chance that my parents send me something... they hinted at it but haven't followed through. And why does it matter... I'll be going home this weekend) Anyway, I checked it about once every day, sometimes even twice a day, and even at illogical times like Saturday night and the following Sunday morning (they don't deliver mail on Sunday. sad.gif ). So I was kinda annoyed when my roomie came in and said that I had mail waiting...


Just complaining now, onto the real update.

Some of you might remember this entry. You should, because I know everybody regularly reads every single thing I post online. (Cricket chirps, blasts it away with Cordak) Anyhow, when I got to my mailbox, I found a package from Lego. Inside, in a nice seal baggie, was Lewa Nuva Phantoka's lime green torso armor. There was also a nice letter, saying sorry and to call if I have any further troubles. (I think I will... one of Pohatu Nuva Phantoka's double socket connectors broke... and that's a gray piece too! Is all Lego plastic fragile now? I never had to worry about this kind of stuff until 2007)

So now my Lewa is complete, with all his pieces in the right place. I personally liked my version a bit better. The new armor makes him look a little meatier, but it also makes him look flat and pancaked, which is the fate of many canister sets. On the bright side, it really does give the lime a color boost over the gray.

I'm not completely satisfied with the piece, but I am satisfied with the service. Lego is good at sending replacement pieces. However, if you do follow through with this, look up the exact piece number, so as there is no confusion of what you're really missing.



Planning Stuff For S.o.m.n.

Posted by xccj , Apr 30 2008 · 131 views
Epic Reports
I have just spent the night brainstorming for my epic, Slizers on Mata-Nui. In general terms, it's an epic where I find something interesting to put in, and then run with it, like I had planned it all along. For instance, there was the use of the Vahki, which came out of nowhere, and the inclusion of Sunari, which was for a contest. But a while back I started a time line for the epic, placing basic events in the order I'd like to write them in. I revise it and move stuff around as I actually come to write about things, but I have some of the major twists and turns preplanned, such as the Matoran's initial capture, the attack by One-arm, and stuff like that. It's basic, pretty much saying who'll be doing what, when, where, and against who. Sometimes not even that much. It's crude, but it helps to guide me when I'm creating future chapters.

Well, I've spent a good portion of the night lengthening that time line. It's taking up a lot of room in Excel, but it's good. There are lots of fun things I have planned out, and now I know where to put them chronologically. And I was also able to determine where specific characters will get their chance to shine. I really can't wait to write this, but I know the process can be slow when I get hung up on certain chapters. And I don't always get hung up on the same kinds of things... peaceful, planning chapters can be difficult if I want to foreshadow something that I haven't yet thought up, but if I know what I want beforehand they're easy to write. If I have already choreographed a fight in my hand, putting it into writing usually isn't too bad, but if I haven't some fights can take a painfully long time to write. That, and sometimes my inspiration just runs dry, or my time fills up. I can not make writing a career, because I have such a problematic style. But I'm not writing for cash... even if anybody'd pay me... I'm writing 'cause I enjoy to and I like to see other people enjoying my epics too.

But, here's the thing... I have things planned up to 80 chapters, and that's just approaching the end. My biggest epic so far, Time Disruption, ended at about 63 chapters. However, it had a rather abrupt ending... a big, lengthy struggle was interrupted and a quick conclusion was drawn. I liked it that way because it didn't drag out an endless storyline... I had already summed up the minor character struggles and it was then simply a matter of holding out. One big battle was good, but I didn't want more and more of the same types of battles, so I used a wild card and took the main characters to a place where they could "make things right" and secure their friendship. That was, as I've said, 63 chapters. The chapter lengths were also shorter (although the spelling and grammar was worst) than SoMN, and posted more frequently. (Well, maybe not, but I managed to keep a bunch of reviewers until the very end).

Slizers on Mata-Nui had already lost most reviewers, with a few still hanging in at 57 chapters. But can they hang in for 20 more chapters, especially when I can't promise that I can post them in a timely manner? When does an epic become too long that nobody bothers to every read it unless they were around when it first began?

I don't know. I do know that when I post something and nobody replies, it makes me feel sad. I have seriously almost been put off writing a few times because of how poorly my epics have been reviewed here. But SoMN has a few constant reviewers, so I hope they can hang on until the end. And even if they drop off (be warned, Kumata, you drop this and I drop your epics too... tongue.gif ) I'll probably still post chapters. Since I started this epic in 2005, I've returned to it numerous times after long blackout periods. It would be really cool to see it concluded in a manner I like. And, even if it flops, I can work on other epics. Many Adventures is actually doing rather well for an epic with a new idea to it... reviewer participation ever time!

If you haven't read either of the epics, I'd recommend them right away. but that's because I wrote them and I crave reviews. I honestly don't expect most people to take up the first 57 chapters of SoMN right now so they can see the conclusion in later chapters. But, hey, it's always worth a shot.

And for those of you who do read SoMN... expect some really fun twists and turns. There are a couple of characters that I haven't used to their full potential, and now it's coming out. I'm going to have so much fun writing this! :hyper:



Pohatu So Totally Rocks...

Posted by xccj , Apr 28 2008 · 98 views

This just secured my liking of our original Toa of Store.

Before you continue, go listen to (or read when updated) Dark Mirror Chapter 7. Otherwise, plan to be spoil-fied.

Anyhow, back to Pohatu.

Dude, we've got our Toa of Stone pretending to be Tuyet's minion, but he's really acting undercover against her. The whole "Thrown of Stone" think is an excelent disguise. And while some of the other Mata just went along with her plans, Pohatu had a moral sence to realize what she was doing war wrong. Score one for the stone fellow!

And we've got Kodan on the side of freedom, as well as Ahkmou (Ahkmou! In charge of the Makuta?) and a few other familiar faces as well. Greg's going all out with this serial... too bad there's only three left (I think), but here's hoping they're just as good.




Toa Kaita

Posted by xccj , Apr 26 2008 · 244 views
News and Updates
I was thinking to myself, why not celebrate my 300th blog entry with an MOC!

But Xccj, you suck at MOCing...


*Ahem* Anyway, here's an exclusive MOC to go along with a few sets I recently purchased.

Yeppers, it's a Toa combo of the Phantoka... well, Toa. Something I kinda enjoy doing is limiting myself to using only pieces found in sets... and in this case I didn't have much of a choice, because I only have a few canister sets with me.

This dude has got some pretty powerful shoulders. Unfortunately, he doesn't contain that almightiness of the original Toa Kaita Mata, as he's waaaaay hunched over. But, hey, he looks strong, and Wairuha Nuva looked horrid hunched over too. Anyway, the hunch allows for excellent positioning of the propellers, and there are some wings back there too. The Legs are certainly the worst part here... and I even used up most of the pins and axles I had putting them together. At least he's stabilized.

The color scheme isn't that bad... lime and orange contrast sharply, and the whites off, but they all stand out nicely from the gray. And, somehow in the positioning of the armor, he doesn't look like a horribly skinny dude with broad shoulders. If Lego released this, I'd probably beat somebody over the head. (Over exaggeration, but I wouldn't be impressed.) But as an MOCist...

Well, I'm still not impressed. Now that I've taken his picture, I'm going to disassemble him and turn him back into the original Toa.

Don't even think of asking for a Makuta Kaita. 1: The storyline doesn't support a merger of multiple Makuta. 2: I'm not buying any more of the winter Makuta... you'll just have to wait until I get Bitil and Krika, and even then I am not touching Gorast.




Posted by xccj , Apr 25 2008 · 92 views
Have you ever wanted to get in a Taxi and just tell the driver, "Follow that car up there."?


I just wonder how that would go down.

*Has been watching Rush Hour 2 for the umpteenth time, but that's okay because he got it on sale at a really good price, so he owns it now*

Anyway, I have also been making progress on my Slizers epic... much to every body's surprise, I'm sure. I don't only have one chapter in the bank, ready to be posted, but TWO! Unfortunately, they have to go through some serious revision before they're posted, as my writing wasn't at its best when I wrote some of them.


And here you thought this would be some college-life entry involving a taxi cab, a rubber chicken, and a girl with a pink dress. But you were wrong.



I Apologize

Posted by xccj , Apr 23 2008 · 189 views
News and Updates
I got a little too caught up in the whole "Earth Day" think yesterday involving Global Warming. If I said anything that insulted anybody, I am sorry and I take it back. I probably got a little carried away because, in real life, my new roommate pitched a fit about a little light. Hypocrite. I am going to take my anger out on him and not transfer it to BZP. Again, sorry if I insulted anybody with my "ranting." I prefer to look at life with more humor than anger.



Not A Rant About Global Warming

Posted by xccj , Apr 23 2008 · 104 views
*Sigh* Bonesiii declared that my entry was too political (and I guess he's right). BZP is a kid's website, and discussions on stuff like this, while it can be beneficial, is not allowed. After all, while I would love to manipulate all your opinions about everything, I'm just a random kid on the Internet. Instead, I urge you to go do the research yourself, from books to websites to lectures. It's good to know about the world around you and what's happening in it... it's just not good to have heated topics discussed on BZP. smile.gif

If you want to see stuff a a team of international scientist have discovered, you can go use the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change link. As far as I am aware, it's a group of 2000 climate scientists from 100 countries participating in the largest peer review and scientific cooperation project in the world. I'd say that gives them some legitimacy.

And, to counter Dalek, any irrational, environment-bashing posts will be deleted / heavily edited by ME. Muhahaha!



Kopaka Phantoka

Posted by xccj , Apr 20 2008 · 982 views
Didn't I say that I didn't have enough money to afford the Phantoka until they went on sale?

Just ignore that part and I'll put off eating for a day to compensate.

Now for a picturefied review!

Well, well, well. Here I am with the last Toa Phantoka, and the team leader, Kopaka. Does me meet up to his counterparts from previous years?

Kopaka Mata was super WIN. Not my favorite Mata, but still an excellent and unique design (with the shield and all). Anyway, I spent two months searching through retails stores in 01 looking for him... whenever my mom went somewhere they might sell Lego sets, I went too, but he was just never there! bigeek.gif Kopaka Nuva was okay, but overly bulky. So far with the Phantoka, I must say the new sets do look better than the Nuva, but not the Mata. Just so I have that cleared up.

The most disappointing thing about Kopaka is his Inika-ness. His basic design is almost identical to the Inika, with only a few minor changed. Sure, he does look okay, but I won't truly say that Lego's moved away from clonism. I remember somebody saying in a blog review that they have seen Lego move away from the clones, and now they want them back. I laughed at the time, but they're right. Even if the sets are semi-clones, if they're decent sets like the Bohrok, Rahkshi, or Piraka, they'll probably do well. The Kal were a problem because they weren't just clones of each other, but clones of the previous villain line of Bohrok. I hate to say this, but Kopaka just looks like a clone of the Inika. If Lego started making cloned sets again, then they would be able to afford to make new limb and torso designs for just one set of canister sets. I thought the Inika were okay, but now I'm just bored down the line. (Although bonesiii did point out that there's not much they can do to improve on the mobility of the set, so why change a good thing?)

'll talk about the limbs for a moment... they consist primarily of Piraka leg pieces. While they do make excellent lower legs... and I'm fine with Kopaka's legs... they make horrid lower arms. First, having the same piece for the arms and legs is bad. The arms should be shorter or thinner, preferably both. The Mata all work, as do most of the Nuva, and Kongu and Jaller Inika can pass as well. But the same pieces for arms and legs blow the proportions. Gali Nuva wasn't amazing when it came to arm pieces, and I said the same thing with a majority of the Inika, and Kopaka as well. Worst, with the shoulder armor, it's impossible for Kopaka's shoulder to go into a 90 degree angle because the arm piece and shoulder armor collide. It's irksome, and I might switch out Kopaka's arms later on for something better (like Rahkshi leg pieces, I think I might have a few of those in Metru grey). And, while I'm on the limbs, I will say I like the white Inika feet. They be cool.

The major new thing that Kopaka has that the Inika don't are the wings. The design for them is somewhat basic but effective. The airplane wings do work for Kopaka, in my opinion. Kopaka's always had a super technologic look about him... something to do with a mask with lenses in it. Plain and effective airplane wings would suit him fine, much better than propellers or jetpacks would. And dragon wings... no, I don't see that for a Toa of ice. The wings do look a bit awkward if positioned incorrectly. They aren't meant for flapping, after all. The best position is to push them in until they're blocked by the back piece that's made to hold Solek. (BTW, I said earlier that Lewa's connection piece was a unique design compared to Pohatu... but I guess Kopaka has the exact same design. Oh well, it still works, and is better than the Makuta's.) Anyway, the wings make for great potential MOCing pieces... much better than either the jetpack pieces or Pohatu's propellers.

The weapon... unfortunately, Kopaka is mostly limited to a Midak blaster with a scope. I prefer him to hold the blaster in one hand, but they leave the other hand feeling empty. But when he's holding onto it with both hands, the pose-ability (understandably) goes down. Oh well, maybe I can fit a custom shield in his spare hand. I've already gone over the Midak... excellent shooter that holds the spheres pretty well, but bulky. Bu I truly do like Kopaka's scope. It's what Lego's Matoran need more of; smaller silver weapons. I really hope that it is used again in smaller sets of years to come. because it is a nice piece. For Kopaka, it makes a rather puny melee weapon, but for my custom Matoran, it's ideal.

But... I thought you were dead!

Moving onto the New Akaku, it's a interesting mask. I think mine may be slightly deformed, because it has trouble being placed on the Metru head... there's some overlap in the plastic that doesn't quite fit until the mask is all the way on, and it makes that process tricky. (Has this happened to just me, or is it a common trait for the new mask?) I think this ne is more of a merger between the great Ruru (Whenua's mask) and great Matatu (Nuju's mask). It no longer holds the "roundish" shape of the original Akaku, but it sure makes Kopaka look dead serious about everything he's doing. Of the new Phantoka masks, this one probably best matches his earlier styles... and hey, it's been a while since we've seen a mask with a scope, right? The red laser is a bit tacky... a good piece, but why would you want that sticking out of your eye. I found a much better use for it.

I stick my tongue out in your general direction, Makuta!

And, just for fun, I tried out a new weapon design that allows Kopaka to more easily handle his Midak blaster with both hands. Of course, I disassembled his back connection piece and had to rearrange some of his armor, but it's kind cool with him pointing this new massive Midak.

Seriously, Lego, don't take this for inspiration. If I saw this weapon as a set, I'd break down and cry at the horribleness of it. But since this is a total amateur design with limited pieces... I can hold back my tears.

Color wise, Kopaka disappoints, but that's to be expected. Like Pohatu, his main white pieces are his armor, feet, and mask. Kopaka gets the extra boost by also having his body pieces be white, but who really cares about those. The armor and limb pieces are all an ugly dark grey... the armor especially. Don't you remember, Lego, that Kopaka came with light gray? But I guess it goes with all the other Phantoka Nuva, who also have grey as their secondary color. I really wish that the chest armor hadn't come in gunmetal gray, but silver. Yes, Silver works well with white... get over it, all you silver haters. And since Kopaka has silver wings and weaponry, a silver Inika chest piece would've have killed, right? Oh well, the contrast isn't too bad.

Overall, Kopaka has a lot of pieces to offer. I like his wings and scope, and the mask is okay. The limb pieces are good for MOCing, but together they don't work too well and are far to reminiscent of sets of the past. Of the three Toa Phantoka, I must say that Kopaka is my least favorite, behind Lewa (2nd) and Pohatu (1st). But he's cool enough, the the trio look great. Besides, I'm planning to make this my last big set collection year, and I will probably honor Lego by getting most of the Nuva in their third form. (Except maybe Gali).

So, what I'm trying to say is, Kopaka's good for a few pieces and if you like white (and grey), as well as those nostalgic fans. But if you only want one Phantoka Nuva... I might be temped to point out the other two first.



I Is Annoyed

Posted by xccj , Apr 20 2008 · 75 views

I know I should probably try and learn to work with my new roommate. Get along. Live together happily for the rest of the quarter.

He complained that my light was too bright, and that I must turn it off so he could fall asleep in our dark... hot... and silent room. After an illogical argument on his side, I finally agreed so that he'd shut up. I am now getting back by spending my time noisily typing on my laptop... although it's hard to read the words on the screen with so little light.

This is a perfect example of what not to do if you get a new roommate. Don't follow my example; try to compromise first, and then keep at it.

But I'm angry and prone to making rash decisions. Oh well, it's my sanity (and eyesight... I want my light on!)

Anyway, there might also be another set review later on. It'll be my last until summer comes along. Of course, I'll wait until I have light to write it.

Now going to bed... Time: 5 AM.

Okay, shoot me.


Oh, I forgot!! New Chapter to Many Adventures is up. Read it. (That means you too, Kumata, you'll enjoy the question this time around, I have a hunch.)


Springtime... Snow?

Posted by xccj , Apr 19 2008 · 215 views
News and Updates
Now that was the oddest thing. I heard on the radio that it was "snowing", but I couldn't see any snow. The little white things that fell from the sky? Hail. I know... I had just walked into the dining hall after braving the weather, and it was hail. But it had turned into rain. Not snow. Obviously the radio people, or their sources, were exaggerating.

So I hop on a bus, heading to Target to (not return Lewa) but to buy a table for my room... and as the bus moved towards the mall-like area, the weather outside began to change. The rain grew white... not hail white, but snow white. I had to take back my insults to the radio people... IT WAS SNOWING! In the springtime... in Seattle of all places? I know we get rain year round here, but snow?

In the end, I didn't pick up a table, because I was lazy, and because of the snow. I walked through a virtual blizzard between the store entrance and the bus stop. True, it wasn't great snow... very wet, made my hand watery and cold when I tried to condense some of it into a snowball. But it was legitimate snow... and some things were under a couple inches of it already. (As long as the things weren't disturbed. For example, the trash cans and street signs had a layer of snow. The sidewalk had a thin layer of mush... and my shoes got wet.

And here's the craziest thing... I got back to the university, and it wasn't snowing at all. (Only raining) And people said that it hadn't snowed either. The mall was only a couple of miles away (five, I think) and not at a much different elevation. I don't quite understand how the mall got a lot of snow, but we got totally passed by at the school.

Oh well, I don't understand weather. After all, the only reason I got the weather merit badge was because my friends and I hung out with a camp counselor for an afternoon as summer camp, and he let us breeze through a couple of MBs... of which our troop leaders later revoked because we didn't put enough work into them. Oh well, cheating the system there didn't work...

And now for something... different.


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Blog Subtitles

Is that the light at the far end of the tunnel, or just the train.
~ Owl City

Lisztomania, think less but see it grow. Like a riot, like a riot, Oh.
~ Phoenix

I took a sip of something poison but I'll hold on tight.
~ Foster the People

Birds sing for you, you can make this blue sky blush
~ Oh Land

On the other side of the street I knew, stood a girl that looked like you.
I guess that's Déjà vu, but I thought this can't be true
~ Train

But even the sun sets in paradise
~ Maroon 5

Crazy how that shipwreck meant my ship was coming in
~ Train (Again?)

So make now your ally, and leap before you look
~ Nothing's Carved In Stone

I'm just too much a coward to admit when I'm in need.
~ Passion Pit

Just believe in far away, ikiru tame ni sore wa
~ Song Rider

Everything that drowns me makes me want to fly.
~ One Republic

I live my life in shackles, but I'm borderline-free.
~ Tove Styrke

Silver Lake, Mercury Mining, This Mistake, No Silver Lining.
~ Alkaline Trio

Always a Pleasure, Never a Chore
~ The Wombats


Ha Ha

You scrolled to the bottom.

I now control your mind.