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Spikels Mixels Review

Posted by xccj , in Review Aug 18 2014 · 81 views

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Click Here For Review

Probably not the first review of the new Spikels, but gosh it's gotta be one of the first. (Not that it really matters, I know most people barely read the reviews anyway.) Still, I am happier with these three than a lot of the others! Lots of character here!

:music:


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Review: Batman: The Joker Steam Roller

Posted by xccj , in Review Jul 16 2014 · 65 views
Batgirl!!, Batman and 1 more...
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Let's look at set 76013: Batman: The Joker Steam Roller. I was able to snag this set at 20% off at the Lego Store. They had a sale on a bunch of the winter DC sets, basically all the ones that were kinda lackluster. I've had my eye on this one for a while, but it never appealed to me enough to go out and get it. But this sale made it worthwhile, so I spent the money. But now how does it add up?

I don't normally mention the boxes; I do in the official reviews just to cover everything but don't really care for the packaging too much myself. However, this box seemed exceptionally thick. Maybe it was because of the wheel pieces or something, but it's just like an extra large box. Odd.

I'm not going to lie; I wanted this set for the figs. And sadly, not even for all the figs, but primarily for Batgirl. I'm not a huge Batman fan, so I can't said I've been wanted her to appear as a fig since the theme began... BUT I did like playing as her in the original video game, and I thought it was a terrible cop-out that there wasn't a real fig verson of her. But now there is, and the detailing on her face and mask is excelent. Plus, a purple cape!

Batman is more of the same, although I guess this is my first all-black one, so he'll fit right in with my Lego Movie character lineup. Short Robin (forget which verson he's supposed to be) is okay, but I'm not a fan of his facial expressions. (Eh, he'll probably die tragically or something later.) Joker is decent, but not a must-have, especially since I personally prefer some of the older versions. I guess the henchman is good for army building, but I found him kind of bland anyway.

The Steam Roller is a very decent model. It's big, bulky, and detailed. The best design is, of course, the mouth on the front, but the back side also has a lovely tractor look. There's a fair amount of SNOT here, and a decent hinge joint to control the roller. The bulkiness is mostly attributed to the large roller and wheels, but it's still a hefty enemy vehicle. What's also interesting is the use of color: there's purple (back wheels), red (mouth), orange (front rollers), yellow (side highlights), lime (back engine), and green (roof). They just need to throw in some blue and it will be a full rainbow! (Blue technic pins don't count.) Although there is a LOT of color, it seems to be fairly well balanced so I kind of like it. One bit of a fail is the flick fire balloon launchers, which don't have a secure connection in their holders like normal flick fire missiles. (Although the face printing on the rounded cone piece is a plus.)

The Bat-Plane, on the other hand, looks awful. It has a fun little function, where the wings snap forward to grab onto the Joker or smash his head in. And the function is creative and it works! But it doesn't look good. They have a lot of curved edges as they try to round out the vehicle, and those curves are sharply contrasted by the straight edges on the inside of the wings. It doesn't look iconic or even very areodynamic. Even the function is kind of hard to pull off because there's no real way to hold onto it as you set it off; if you push in on the front "bumper" then the wings snap in on your hand, and depending on the speed it could be painful. Plus, the construction has you build the two wings at the same time when they're only connected by one 1x4 brick, so the construction kept falling apart. Generally Lego seems to have these builds done independently and then added together at the last minute, so the instructions here just seemed odd.

In conclusion, I can see why this set is on sale. The minifigures are good, but only Batgirl is great, and the rest have kind-of been done before. The Joker's Steamroller is an excelent design, but the Bat Plane not so much. I think the problem with the plane is that too much effort went into creating its function, which does work, but greatly at the expence of its overall look. If you wanted a bat vehicle, there are better options out there to choose from. The pieces are decent (and there are 486 of them, which is good) but nothing is exceptional or unique (except for the purple and orange wheels.) I wouldn't recomend this set unless you reeeeeeally want Batgirl (guilty) or this has some parts that meet you needs. Even then, keep an eye out for a decent sale first.

:music:


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Review: Arctic Helicrane

Posted by xccj , in Review Jul 15 2014 · 86 views
HUSKIES, Arctic, Helicrane
And now I continue on with my non-official front page reviews that take much less time to make...

Some people were excited to see the return of Arctic sets this year. Arctic was one of the last system themes I got really excited about back in 2000, right before I got consumed by Bionicle for the next 7 years. The explorers and parkas and snowmobiles and polar bears... it was a great theme. I only ever got two sets from it, but the mobile outpost one was definately a highlight. With that said, this year's theme had a lot to live up to.

And it lives up to it by including the one thing the original theme didn't cover; dog sleds!

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I picked up the 60034 Arctic Helicrane last month primarily because it was the cheapest set to get the team of huskies with. Jumping straight into that, the dogs are a lovely new mold with excelent face printing and great two-toned color. Better yet, the shading of the gray on the back varies, so each dog looks unique. The actual sled is fairly basic, but works, and the use of the Friends handle bars to hold onto the dogs is ingenious. I would've love this on its own to be the cheap set instead of the snowmobile, but I guess they'd rather use it as incentive to purchase the bigger sets.

And the bigger part of this set is the helicopter. I couldn't tell you if it is based off a real life helicopter, but IMO it looks a little bare bones. There are a lot of big, bulky pieces here, especially with the cockpit cover, making me feel cheated out of a more intricate build. (But that's just my complaint, I'm sure it's fine for a younger audience.) Basically, it feels like a long stick in which you attach the propellers, side legs, tail, and cockpit. In theory, the empty belly would get filled up with the storage device that's lifted up by the winch, so there's a very good reason it seems so empty in the middle, but the simplicity of the build still bugs me.

There are good parts about it. There's an ingeinous design for the trusters that uses click hindges to achieve a nice SNOT angle. They also use the 5L propeller beams as essentially 5L plates to hold down the larger propellers, so that's a nice trick. (And you get 10x of those 5L propeller beans.) The winch is also securely worked into the design, and although I'm not a huge fan, it works. Plus, you get 6x of the new ski pieces on the end of each leg and bottom of the cockpit. Speaking of neat pieces, the classic rock element appears in trans light blue here. (Last time they had trans light blue meteors, so that's a slight change.)

Parts wise, there's nothing exceptional besides the huskies. There are a few decent elements in orange. While orange makes sense as a safety color, I do kind of wish they had more of the blue color scheme of the original theme, but that's again just personal preference.

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The minifigs are nice, although neither is exclusive to this set. Still, like with the huskies, this is the cheapest one to get them in. I suppose the pilot is technically unique (according to Brickset) but none of his parts are. He has a classic brown jacket with some nice orange safety highlights to fit him in with the rest of the crew. I was surprised that the explorer was actually female; she seems to be in most of the sets as the huskies, so she must be their caretaker. She has a unique torso and face printing, as well as the new blue parka head piece. Again, I'm disappointed that the explorers don't come in various colors like they did in the original theme, but the consistant orange and blue scheme does make them all look like part of a team. And honestly, it's cool to see a female explorer who's not (only) in the most expensive set of the year.

This is a hard set to reccomend. The figs are good, and the huskies are excelent, but the actual helicrane is a little too basic for my tastes. It does have some decent parts, but only 262 for the cost of $39.99 is a pretty bad value. And while this is the cheapest way to get the figs and huskies, they do appear in some of the larger sets, so if you can afford those, I might go that route instead. But if you like the design of the helicrane, then there's plenty of play value to be had as you explore the arctic. (Next year I want the team to go to the Antarctic so we can get more penguin molds!)

:music:


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Review: Attack on Isengard

Posted by xccj , in Review Jul 10 2014 · 248 views
LotR, Ent, Isengard and 1 more...
Read for another mini review? Today I look at this cool set that I picked up the other day which is clearly from Lord of the Rings. I believe it is 76020: Attack on Isengard.

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So this set is suppose to represent the scenes from the second LotR movie The Two Towers where Isengard is attacked. You get some enemies defending their mining equipment, as well as an Ent with a Hobbit companion. There's a lot to like here, but there are also a ton of discrepancies, so many that it makes you wonder if they even watched the source material!

To start out with, you've got the Ent. It might be Treebeard, but it's hard to tell, so it may just be a generic Ent. He's pretty tall, and makes excellent use of the Mixel joints for his arms and legs. He has a very intriguing hand design, which uses those new clips on a Star Wars droid body to great affect. There's also leafy printing on the brown curved slopes on his legs, which is nice because they usually force us to apply stickers here. The head / upper torso is actually all one giant piece, and while the detailing is nice, it doesn't really allow for much customization. The use of browns and dark green works very well here, but I do think they should've included some leefy greeble to make him more tree-like. Still, overall, a good Ent.

Now, the Hobbit, on the other hand, they totally missed. His outfit it totally not cannon, and there is way too much fur on his head. And what's with the tail? Hobbits don't have tails! All this detail and they still missed the furry feet. And he has this big weapon... what's with that? The Hobbits were throwing rocks in that scene, but that still looks like a weird rock. And I can't even tell if this is supposed to be Pippin or Merry. Additionally, the official set doesn't even have a way for him to sit on the Ent's shoulder, but I was able to repurpose a bracket from elsewhere in the set to sit him up there. So at least that works. Still, they could've done much better here.

The other two figures are nice and detailed, but also seem to miss their marks. One is apparently a Black Rider. It's odd since they didn't appear in this scene, but Lego's had trouble before getting the right characters in the sets for specific scenes. His robe printing could use work but it's decent. I don't know what that weapon is supposed to be, looks a little odd for a Morgal Blade. :shrugs: The other one is a blue-skinned purple-uniformed Orc. It might be a Uruk-hai, but it's a bit different from the official version, especially with the colors. For one thing, the torso and head printing seem to indicate this is a female. I know there were women stunt actors who played Orcs in the movie, but I thought all the Orc characters were supposed to be male? She does have some swords, so that fits in, even if they are katanas and a far cry from the traditional Uruk-hai weapons.

The mining equipment is a good design and fits in much closer to the movie than some of the others. There's a small pit where they store trans yellow round bricks, and a guard tower for observation. The tower is a simple but stable design, and even has a couple of features. There's a trap door on the top, and then another lever that can send the whole structure flying. This makes for great play value when the Ent attacks. Another interesting thing is the mini catapult next to the pit. Normally, these things hardly ever work, but this is situated perfected to launch a round brick into the pit beneath the tower. Like, it works, more than half the time! Color me impressed. Finally, there's also a black turret with the new spring loaded launcher. It's a decent function, but is still a poor stand in for the catapults that the Orcs utilized. Still, the launcher works.

And finally, we have this odd round blue vehicle thing. It has some nice curved sections on it, utilizing a few SNOT techniques. But for the life of me, I can't figure out what this is supposed to represent? The color scheme clashes with the rest of the mining equipment, so it doesn't appear to be part of the Orc's equipment. The official artwork shows the Hobbit in it, so it might be a makeshift prison? Lego has been known to add in random things that don't appear in the movies (see Mandarin's Flame Throwing Truck from Iron Man III) but this is just ridicules.

Overall, this is a decent set, with a fun Ent and plenty of mining equipment for him to smash. But there are many, MANY errors in this set that differentiate from the source material. The figs, while nice designs, hardly match the characters. After seeing all the detail they put into the previous LotR sets and figs, I'm sad that this one is so off the mark. Still, you get 433 pieces for $39.99, so it's a decent value. And I guess you could always just pretend this is for some other theme, like Guardians of the Galaxy. The Hobbit would make for a decent Rocket Raccoon, although it seems the Ent might be a little large for Groot. :shrugs:

:music:


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Review: General Grievous’ Wheel Bike

Posted by xccj , in Review Jul 09 2014 · 84 views
Star Wars, SandBlueCheeseSlope
Hey, heres a short review of 75040 General Grievous Wheel Bike. It's short cause I want to talk about the set, but am too lazy to draft up an official one for the front page.

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If you hate repetitive building, avoid this set at all costs. Like seriously, there's a lot of repetition in this build. But while its annoying, it makes sense. I mean, you're BUILDING the wheel, not just using a pre-made tire. So embrace the repetition, from the two similar bases on either side of the wheel to the four very similar legs.

Still, one advantage the repetition has is that it gives you a lot of the same pieces. Want 1x2 plates with clips or bars on em? You get twelve of each in the wheel. Those technic-snake fang pieces that showed up in a few Ninjago sets in limited quantities? There are 8 here. Want a light saber duel? This set comes with 4, plus Obi-Wans pink-gemstone friendship staff that he's trying to give to Grievous. Or how about a cheese slope in a brand new color? You get 16, plus 1 extra, in sand blue. Not to mention some classic ball joint pieces, a cool printed 1x1 trans pink tile, and an unique transparent wheel piece.

The included minifigs are Obi-Wan Kenobi and General Grievous. Obi-Wan is apparently a unique fig with new torso and face printing, but its still pretty similar to previous versions of him. It's nice, I guess, but not quite a must have. Grievous is like all unique parts that came in a separate baggie that indicates not made in the same factory as the rest of these pieces which also most likely indicates it's from China. He's good and detailed, I guess, but it's not really a fig that I'm interested in.

As far as the vehicle goes, it kinda works. The wheel spins, and there's a fairly even split of weight on both sides that it doesn't tip more one direction all the time. The ball joint legs also allow for decent stability, but I was impressed that they don't really get in the way when rolling it around. Nice.

I'm sure theres a lot more to be said about this set by Star Wars fans. (Like, why doesnt Obi-Wan have his animal steed?) But to be honest, I bought it as a parts pack, and it delivers. The sand blue cheese slopes are awesome, and I also like the trans clear wheel (need more tho) and the fang pieces. I guess the minifigs are okay but I'm not a big fan. I'll probably keep ol Ben Kenobi (hair piece is nice) but I'd be more than willing to trade away Grievous.

So, in conclusion, this makes for a good parts pack, as long as you want a few specific parts, cause it has a lot of them. The vehicle and figs are okay, but not really a must have. So parts pack it is!

Thanks for reading, I might do more of these because it's fun to ramble but in a not-front-page-worthy way.

:music:


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Review: Crystal Beast vs Bulk

Posted by xccj , in Review Jul 03 2014 · 64 views

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Click here for full review

Hey look another Hero Factory set review!

Just pulled an all-nighter getting this one uploaded. Partially because my internet has been off all day and only came back on around 10 PM. Like, seriously, I'm paying monthly and the Internet provider just can't give me service in the middle of the day! I called em and they said they're working on a "service issue" on their end but it's still lame. (And I've already complained about this elsewhere. A lot.) To be fair, I didn't start the coding until I could test my links, and I technically could've done it before hand... but I had lazy-ing around to do earlier!

(Also what's this about the video actually being published on June 4th, I don't know what that means, it's certainly not that I accidentally uploaded it over night and forgot to set it to private until the next morning, and in the three hours it was up it got more views and comments than some of my other reviews, no it can't possibly be that.)

Also talked about visiting Florida next month to hang out with my Dallas roommate. And I may actually be able to do that, since I got off new hire double-probation at work this week. (That is, as a new hire, I'm not eligible for stuff like vacation or medical until I've worked with them for 90 days. But I initially worked for them for my first 90 days as a "contractor" from the company that helped me search for a job, so when I got hired for real, my 90 days got reset. Not really complaining, I just find the whole situation rather humorous.)

Anyway, TO BED! With nightmares of Crystal Beast haunting my head. (Nightmares because of those AWFUL CLAWS!!)

:music:


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Tunneler Beast

Posted by xccj , in Review Jun 18 2014 · 127 views
vs Surge
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Click here for full review

I know this shouldn't be the most interesting part of the review, but I'm proudest of throwing in the word "spelunking" in the intro. :P

Also, I tried using gray baseplates as a background, to give it a more Lego-y feel. I think it works, but I could potentially see it as being too busy. Thoughts? Or lack thereof.

I also expect to get a lot of flak about my hatred of the hand design, but I stand by my opinion that they're terrible. Okay, I might not have worded my reasoning perfectly, but they're still bad. Bad bad bad!

:music:


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Frosticon Mixels

Posted by xccj , in News, Review Jun 07 2014 · 108 views

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(Click for Review)

I have to say, out of all the Mixels out so far, I think I like the Frosticons best. It's not just their cool designs that are full of character, but also the good color scheme and especially all those medium azure pieces!

I have a habit of reviewing sets that I really like. Maybe I should start reviewing sets I dislike? Except I don't buy those sets cause I dislike them... and yes, these Mixels were purchased and not freebees. (And this review may have been delayed by a few weeks because of a freebee set that got reviews...)

BUT FROSTICON MIXELS YAY! Nothing against the others (except Jawg) but they can't all be my favorites.

:music:


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The LEGO Movie: Characters

Posted by xccj , in TV, Review Feb 12 2014 · 148 views

Hey guys so yesterday I finally saw The LEGO Movie!
 
Everybody: We’ve already seen it!
 
Okay, so much for just bragging.  Anyway, I was planning to do a short review of how well the various sets were incorporated in the movie, since previous movie tie ins (Iron Man III) were pretty bad.  But there were so many Lego Movie sets that some would surely get more screen time than others.  Except. . . well, Brickset already posted an article on that.  So instead here’s a not-exactly-comprehensive list of all the characters who appeared.  Wow, that turned out to be quite long. . .  Oh, and in case it wasn’t obvious, SPOILERS!
 
Spoiler

 
Anyway, it was indeed a good movie.  Although if you were like me and watched each and every trailer, than the first half of the movie was kind of. . . reruns.  (I did the same thing when The Legend Reborn came out. . . only that time the previews covered all the good parts.  At least the second half of this movie was relatively unspoiled.)  I did feel that there were some pacing issues in the beginning, but again that might’ve just been because of what I just mentioned.  :shrugs:
 
I also bought the soundtrack (technically before I’d even seen the movie, although I didn’t listen to the full thing before I saw it.)  It’s good, and I have bits of it stuck in my head, which is surprisingly not the “Everything is Awesome” song.
 
I do want to see it again, and I probably will.  (Maybe a matinee 2D showing. . . I’m not sure 3D was really worth it.)  And I will for sure by it when it comes out on DVD.  Heck, maybe even preorder it and get whatever fig it comes with, since I never do that otherwise.  But yeah, great movie, go see it if you haven’t already.
 
:music:
 


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Giddy Giddy Giddy

Posted by xccj , in Review Dec 21 2013 · 150 views

I am probably more excited about these than I should be... but oh well.
 
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These were found at a Fred Meyers, who again released collectible minifigures in December when they're supposed to be out in January.  (Granted, it's late December this time round.)  They seriously must've gone out today.  There were some picked through boxes, but there were also a bunch of unopened boxes in the back.  Now, I could've just bought a full box and then sell the extras online... but I'm not that mean and don't have that much spare cash anyhow.  But I did open a new box in order to find Gail and Abe, so that helps.
 
Now, quick review!!
 
Marsha Queen of the Mermaids: My, my, lots of pastel colors here.  Medium lavender, medium blue (I think) hair, trans pink crystal… she certainly stands out.  And a lovely mermaid design yet again.  She’s rare (2 to a box) but her large tail piece is bulky and easy to feel.
 
Wild West Wyldstyle: This has to be one of my favorites from this batch!  A cool gothic-style dress, and the hair piece is also well designed, although I presume it’s the same we’ll see later on in the official sets.  A fitting alternate version of the female lead!  Moderately rare, at 4 to a box.  The dress is the piece that stands out the most, but one of the lady robots also has a dress, so don’t confuse the two.  Unique to Wyldstyle is the fan piece, and potentially her hair piece.
 
Hard Hat Emmet: Yay, the lead protagonist, although he is kind of lackluster compared to the others.  I initially thought he’d be in every set for the Lego movie, but that’s not the case, so he’s not too repetitive here.  His torso and legs might be the same as the set version, but he has a 1x2 tiles with some interesting printing on it (which includes a shark eating a fig. . . I assume that becomes relevant later?)  The best part is the hard hat, which has a bit of hair included on the back.  Emmet also has a two sided head; one face is happy, and one face is EXTRA happy.  This is a really awesome combo, especially compared to so many of the due annoyed/angry faces in the licensed sets.  Anyway, he’s kind of hard to feel for, since nothing really stands out; I guess check for the 1x2 tile and then verify that he doesn’t have handcuffs, because the policeman also has a 1x2 tile but has handcuffs.  Still, he’s common at 6 to a box.
 
Gail the Construction Worker: I image Gail to have a crush on Emmet in the movie and him being totally oblivious to it… but maybe it’s the other way around?  Anyway, I am really impressed to see a new torso mold and everything for a standard city position in a female variety.  (The Lego Movie sets seem to include a lot of females, with a ratio that might even surpass city sets.)  In addition to a feminen torso print (front and back) Gail also has her own special hard hat piece with a ponytail.  I thought they’d reuse Emmet’s helmet, so the new mold is welcome.  Oh, and she has a jack hammer, which is the piece to feel for.  Sadly, she’s rare at only 2 to a box.
 
Panda Guy: Seriously, I’ve been expecting this since we got the gorilla guy.  He totally reminds me of the mascot you could hire in the original Roller Coaster Tycoon.  The head piece is totally awesome with some great printing and molded nose.  The front of the torso / legs is kind of basic, but there is a zipper printed on the back, which is cool.  The teddy bear / panda is also lovely, and my favorite iteration of that toy mold.  And the minifig face behind the head piece is sticking his tongue out and sweating a bit, so that adds some character!  When feeling for him, you could try to locate the large head piece with the ears, or the obscure shape of the toy panda.  Although this fig is common at 6 to a box, I expect him to fly off the shelves.  (I helped someone at the store today locate one. . . after I had secured my own, of course.
 
Abraham Lincoln: One of the first named historical figures, and already a hit after his one line in the movie’s trailer!  I sure hope he has more of a role than just that one scene, but I guess that would still be enough to justify his existence here.  The top hat and beard are all one piece, so no customizing head gear for him, and he comes with a 2x2 tile that starts off with “Four score and seven years ago.”  Nothing Lego related in that, but it’s still awesome.  To find Abe, you could locate the 2x2 tile, but two other figs also have one, so also check for the tall hat to verify.  He’s only moderately rare at 4 to a box.
 
Given time, I will probably buy the full set of these, but honestly I got the ones I wanted most right off the bat.  The rest are good, but I can wait until after the mad rush to pick them up.  (And there’s only one dud IMO… the bearded robot.  The rest are certainly on my want list, just not at the top of said list.  :P )
 
And if you’re near a Fred Meyers, it wouldn’t hurt to check them out.  But not all of them release the sets early; I know DeVee’s said his store didn’t have them, but they had the Ninjago sets earlier this month when my stores didn’t, and given how many rabid fans there are in this area, they might not last long.
 






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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

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