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  1. Blog Reporting


    In the past, before the upgrades and the downtime, reporting things in the blogs was a complicated mess of PMing BlogAlert, linking the content, describing the broken rules, and hoping someone read the BlogAlert account in a timely manner.


    NO MORE!


    The "REPORT" buttons on comments and entries DO WORK. Before the downtine, they did not. Now they do! Hurray!


    So, in short, if you have something to report, click that button, describe the offense, and a blog staff member will receive the report and an automatic link the the offending content. (Please do not use this to report signatures)


    This is much easier on us, on you, the general populace, and also on kittens everywhere.


    -The Blog Staff


    OoOoh, sweet September salutations! Fantastic Fall to all! 

    Where to start? Is it being to real to reveal that I’m blogging from the floor? It basically became the disabled diaries here somewhere.apologies to all if I’m too real/honest and for my punctually pitiful proofreading. 


    Oh well, of current creativity I come to tell! 

    “You are literally Buddy the Elf” 

    ~my mom’s reaction to what I do while she’s at work.


    Watermelon! From when my mom had to pay for tree removal due to their closeness to the home. I asked for the slice of tree, she kindly hauled  it to the basement for me. Leftover house paints and mixes, leather jacket seeds. Now all-season shelf porch decor. Melons are Luna & Shasta attractant, apparently. 


    Do you truly love your brother unless you visually yell at him (translation: excessively photo spam) him at all hours about your shenanigans?



    My slightly sloppy hanging of my Tangled +Baby Yoda 2021 dress, done for the upstairs hall wall. Clothes gently embroidery thread tied to base. From the leftover plastic from the display-dustoff covering my wings recently. White base is an old fleece throw, coversewn in an extra sheet, hung with mini-nails.

     *the only context in which I shall get my nails done* 



     While bad blood pressure bumbling about I made some fall decor starting September 1st! *Vince guraldi trio jazz echoing about* inspired by me actually being forced to leave the home (doctor visits, hotel stay overnight, thus frolicking in Target and hugging every weighted plushy I could see with glee) and seeing fall stuff. Fall frolic frenzy for my mom who never had any decorations before! So many things she’s never had, like adequate house things, being unable to access the family bank account prior due to oppression. Onto a new era, where she is the queen! Still somewhat in the zone of making stuff for the home as this one was Full of Nothing. Especially exciting because my mom adores fall and Thanksgiving the most. She mourned the overlooked holiday, last year was tough, and twas time for a change! Have to chase those sunny spots of life, the sweetness through the spice! 


    I have come to realize I’ve made our home look like a children’s library! Or an elementary school?. Do they look like this? UNC children’s hospital-school did decorate beautifully and I loved it. School there was great, 2 hours of Real work. And more often the more exciting options of: “a storyteller is here”, or  “a bird man has brought you all owl pellets and has an owl with him” or “an elusive, actually employed marine biologist has brought live sea creatures to pet” or “a traveler has brought a giant circle of African drums ready to be played” or “art teacher invites all to draw a cartoon turkey” or “headband making event on floor 6!” “want to go check out the library on the 7th floor?” These amazing souls made my hospital-hostage situation unbelievably happy 🧡For the record, they let me keep my owl pellet bones  (Sorry, nurse Danielle, if you’re out there..for you having to touch them..) and they are in our Lindt truffle Christmas ornament to this day. Leetle mouse skeletons. In a plastic bag though, I’m not a barbarian. 


    Little frying pans for the alien children (mom bought measuring cups, they look too much like cast iron not to borrow for photos!) Aunt J’s hand me down blanket, little beanie baby ferret, pillow swaddled in aunt X’s orange scarf gift. 

    I save all the greeting cards for recycling, this wreath was on one and laminated + little leaves. Masks saved and laminated from last year’s Amazon toy catalog. Must keep my Children clothes in trash, of course.  


    Pumpkins posted prior by the wood stove.  

    Extra carpet tiles from N&W/renovating saved for a fall rug color pop.



    I was last monthish years old when I realized the point of pillow covers we so they could be seasonally switched out. I had NO IDEA! 

    Pillow covers made from pumpkin colored jersey sheet & matching Macra lace swatches. Now my mom can match the pillows when wearing the recent macaroni-necklace-quality dress as all normal humans aspire to. Buttons from grandmother’s old shirt. 

    Pillowcase and Aunt X’s gift scarf strewn over furniture shoulders for color!




    Laminated leaves! Library vibes! Did not have a plan as usual and happy happened. Mid falling asleep I had an epiphany (to me): Cut up the vanilla (translation: Manila) envelopes into print paper dimensions and print monochrome maple leaf outlines on them! MS paint to the rescue. Worked happily, I added leaf veins on the backs with a sharpie. Then I found wrinkly orange tissue and got to chopping some from that, each with one simple center thread noodle. Cut, cooked & cut. 



    The plumbing supply barnfind pumpkin from last year, & lil handmade leather returns. 

    Wreath gold chain add-in because ideas were not flowing. 




    Smol doll made by a wee-me as a stocking stuffer for my mom. Redressed in clothes made for my Lammily doll long ago. The company that stole my photos of my kid-created doll fashions I posted from my mom’s account (I often disclosed this because people kept trying to buy my creations), in a fan-made handmade Lammily FB group. And used the photos in ads on their foreign distributors’ doll buying sites. I accidentally discovered this myself by going on their worldwide distributor’s site to see if new releases were up in other countries first. I was shocked to find my doll photos & fashions all across them, along with a few other members’ and Etsy sellers. I, confused and crying, publicly exposed this on the group. Then the Lammily designer himself, his family members, and his PR/salesperson all joined the group suddenly and began posting. Fans were furious. I, an oblivious kid creator, busted the crowdfunded Lammily company by chance. For stealing children’s doll photos. My awesome brother wrote a cease and desist letter and we sent it. The stealing stopped and the photos were removed. The creator and their gang still stalk that group to this day. This kind of ruined the doll I’d once loved for me (I even rerooted my 2 dolls’ hair with Saran doll hair, one tiny strand at a time. The original hair was so poor quality and became a frizzball), but I had dreamy design times with her over many insomnia-sick nights, and learned from experience why people use watermarks on their photos! Maybe one day I’ll drag out some of those miniature project pictures/or retake and post here. This was how I first got into leather shoemaking, just 1/6th scale. Then Alpha-gal allergy hit months later and we had to pack up all my leatherstuff. 



    Had a scrappy carpet tile, turned into a twisty stick tub with pumpkin beady tuft thing. 

    Because that’s what you do in Fall. You home-alone wheelchair down by the creek, hand yank fine vines off a shrubbery, get your wheels mighty stuck in a hole, and ultimately end up unsteadily staggering back up the hill pushing the sticks in your chairseat-like you are simply a forestfairy godmother taking them on their sunny midmorning stroll. 🧡



    Hummel shelf got a little late-year love. Impromptu invented some laminated hangings from an ad for plates in the pie-covered magazine, Vanilla envelopes + back mosaics from a greeting card I couldn’t part from. 

    First attempt at wreath (base) weaving from trees/branches. 

    Yew tree cones, wirebound feathers saved from when we had to wing-clip our Golden Comet hens (neighbor was not a hen-friend) to immobilize them. 


    Cannot believe these wreaths are free from trees! Thanks to my mom wheeling me out and chopping stuff down for me before I  hysterically had to flee from this one wicked hornet-bee. Why were these creatures given extra legs, stingers, AND wings? Terribly unfair. She cut down so much and I nearly collapsed in my chair out there trying to make bunches of wreath bases for all upcoming holidays, not wanting the dear trees to go to waste. She promised there will be others, but is this true outside of summer? 

     I got this far before wilting entirely. It’s hopelessly 1000mph enthusiasm at any project I’m into.



    Acorns & Kaya. Thankful for all the tiny pinecones about the acres here! 



    Oh! The sunflower wreaths! Van Gogh vibes! I got hopelessly unplanned obsessed with Fall-ing things for my mom and this happened.

    Quick crochet with a chubby hook.9 petaled and 9 per wreath. Soaked in Elmer’s and wood glue diluted and dried to stiffen (after turning my fingernails yellow using the last bottle bits of experimental Wood Hardener on them without gloves. I was out of glue, in the basement floor and too tired to care about caution. It worked well but I ran out of it!)  Twist tie attached . Base is a ring cut from extra carpet tiles that I wrapped in ½-⅝”  strips of shower curtain fabric. Barnyarn hung.



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    (Random honeywand made for a doll's bee costume long ago).

    *You Are My Sunshine song on repeat for effect* 





    Oh! And a little photo size sketch of my bro in Octo’ 1999 for my mom, also. 5.5hrs while in sick stupor, on a clipboard, in a car. Anxious to get obsessed with drawing again, I cannot be a bit balanced! A billion beautiful things to do!


    Autumn arbor from cake holder box cardboard circles and covering in PUL fabric, cork from my shoemaking stash, flooring scraps,+superglue on grandmother’s sparkle stash. And glitter paint. For the kitchen, to correlate with some other orangish round decor I’ll show below…




    The orange slices were a glad-ccident. I packed (for my mom to eat) oranges for the doctor stay-trip recently and they were too old and squishy. I planned to dry them in the oven for decor, but the others were surprisingly not rotten. But the want of seasonal ceiling citrus stayed, and I had more vanilla envelopes, couldn’t say nope! The juicy bits brightened with orange highlighter.

     Printed from monochrome clip art as printing the orange ink ones on yellow paper gave me lime slices. Saving those surprises for spring/summer!2ofzJ_AvSKG2z5Rk2SNCQvbqvPCqZG3Oj4jVjFczIdNQT4IF6VkOCWQY-M5AxpWNPevU8LPbyfnksNb91oJTPKwXhhpgRuzDRugH1brifNk0ITS7YpOUr7GaXWzR9nFkXwZyV2ap0-Qs6hrvxna7tzI




    Tied to crochet chains created with my mom’s megahook. Citrus garland was a tad thin, made a Macra lace & sheet scrap garland to thicken. 


    Corner shelf stolen from closet upstairs, free from the HUD home. Sturdy succulent stand! Oh, but I’ve not yet told of that, must scroll to get to that.  Sorry for discombobulated me! 


    Cut carpet tiles into centerpiece. 




    Shabby lil fresh woven wreath because too tired to try harder.



    I tend to take out the legs of the dining set with my wheelchair. Awful to make mom’s new homey look shabby! Daring to destroy my spring chalk paintjob. It occurred to me that I should knit bulky bumpers for them! Chunky chair cozies/ leg warmers/sockies. Covered in plastic sheeting fabric scraps, cut from comforter & curtain clear plastic bags (for durability from my wheels & maybe messy meals?). Fresh on the furniture feet, finished from last Friday night to this recent Friday at 4 am! 



    It also occurred to me that the carpet tile placemats I made prior work better as seat soft spots/pseudocushions.



    Good as a goose, if ever not in-use!


    Extra carpet tiles = me ecstatically  “making” tons of faux rugs everywhere I go:


    A brain backburner idea from last year was carried out thanks to twenty minutes in Target.

    Sculpted smol succulent children for my mom! A due-to-my-dad deprived plantperson. That white pot is my mom’s mortar and pestle base with the rubber bit removed, but she doesn’t mind!


    The baby baskets were born before though!  Saw a Pinterest paper cup weave, had a plastic one from the hotel trip and tried it with this plastic barn yarn. Then doing that caused me to instinctively figure out how to weave it from scratch, so the tube-oval two are not cheat weaves.



    Made from Oogoo! Have you heard of it? I did when doing DIYs from Tree Change Dolls long ago. 

    It’s poor people’s Sugru/sculptable rubbery clay. The recipe I use is equal parts cornstarch and interior caulk. I made it a few times prior to the onslaught of my extreme allergy restrictions. You can add acrylic paints if you want colors. It’s amazing stuff! Has anyone made LEGO/Bionicle parts from this? 

    I just mixed up a white batch in a lidded cottage cheese container, shaped, dried, brush painted with wall + acrylic craft paint mix, and sprayed them with art fixatif spray as I had that. 

    For the dirt, I wrapped a medium rock with white PUL fabric and placed it inside for weight, then covered with brown jacket scraps. Stuck on the wrapped rock top with caulk. Similar process for this mortar and pestle turned planter. Dirt is web sewn on the underside onto the felt filled rock PUL piece. Succulents secured to the dirt with a dab of caulk. 


    *Mom being scared to open it saying “it looks too special!”*

    *Me who knows the wrapping is from coffee filters, paint color chips, and a sleepytime tea box quote*


    I’ve recently realized I’m basically a cat. I like leaving gifts for my humans and vanishing, don’t say much/am skittish, nearly nocturnal, fall asleep in the sun, like climbing and sitting in/on things I shouldn't, and am floppy/hypermobile. But I don't have fine cat hair, mine is the crunchy texture of curls. 

    The trio stays in the window, the big one on the corner shelf by itself. 



    Mild Autumn attack on my mom’s room. Just flipped the bedding to red side & swirled out some scarves. Sheets were a forgotten gift from Aunt J. last year.

    . fIlV0yx33wy54a6D3Nx9HWzrOmZc_T23LCywZOBEjTCSYr00Ia_NzpTQhUHacET4GQVGZYGc0AwpgLWtW4ZyIAwvyKv8oAgeNae5zDMvOHO89h6KQBdCHRMMH_5xT9_BdNWq_EM-fcPjME0Vg-AbsCIL2ybbM08FzjOqxSRpW8pIUXCCrdiCyIWy4sKycmuoz0MUffoUdFac5RkpDcagctRNbUVwgQXW3YPZJBWkFB9X3XjapXPC0DMT99pdM_HDXkUpTwnV-lybi104rjtgeC0axToebGjjOaFK0mYovhtHFU

    Added one of the sticky wreaths on the mirror with quick chain crochet colors. This messy make from millions of moons ago, paint by number canvas that I enjoyed ignoring in the utmost. 

    Mom’s Brownie bear is finally the rightful owner of a long ago hospital knit plush sweater.



    Mom’s childhood doll’s green-trimmed and sleeved dress tucked & poofed into a pumpkin, twisted Cinderella style? Her face stains are from when her prisoner brother Sharpie X’s over her eyes. Ink removal we should retry.


    And that finished a funtastic full fall haul from September 2nd to 22nd. I am happily physically shattered!

    Unbelievable Autumn has come! Our first one settled here! I love the leaves, our old house had only sad pine needles-painful piles to play in and full of ticks. It’s the greatest existence I’ve known here with dear Mom. Wish she’d gotten her own place years ago, haha. So peaceful, no shouting, stress or scary-loud television. Cannot wait for bro to visit again, we hadn’t even finished the hall bathroom when he came at Christmas. Now ”Ta-da! List”ing  what decor I should make at Christmas. Planning the color scheme and theme already. 

    Cinderella aesthetic, chores + clothing little house friends…if I can call a soap dispenser my friend. Flooring scraps and leather thread, at least the poor thing is not naked!zFfFkMHAK0bf9GV7NLTa_Ceh2zH-Ku7RW37dKynsl5x-5HhTuGHx74hL0eAytR4qlXWptjbZuKEQBaPrezrwjukC9chdgsvvpADGgXufTB6sJTXY9KVLTDSzIKCx-sSsxokl2X5kQQ_otAhW1EWIzOA

    Culinary crafts!

    Spice crumb cake in my misfit sized cake pan stack. Chocolate chip coconut oil muffs with walnut & choc on top. Spice and sweet potato sweet  squares, walnut chocolate pastry pods + brekkie granola rounds. 


    Cheddar cheese petite pizzas, I was thrilled to figure out they fit in coffee cans for freezer storage. Olives feel luxurious. 1WfeIOJOhfjzNTg6Ee74Q1ieGdWK7NLKl58o42nBQuMPpMinpJKeZJja5d0f6EHlv-OzB0abL2GKQ4YuG-uPA0L5tBzslUb7Cv55sBsT2kGRj0cEtoZD2EsaT0-2nhML-fKQo45QR-PPzSv3CQ6-v7E

    The mysterious ways of mayonnaise. 

    It PROTECT, it expires at precisely 10:04 am. 

    Plus the poor broccoli baby missed in a morning rush. 


    Light and fluffy butter loaves (actually oil because $) that were altered from a Texas Riaddhouse roll recipe and this a bit stubby. Horizontal slicing to the rescue & flash frozen on trays as always. Grateful to have grabbed our four lovely loaf pans when we left. Oven Naan breads, a fan of the King’s (KAF brand) recipes I am! 


    Onto the +3 abandoned alternate art endeavors! One sewing, one drawing, one painting. Amazing how little I am accomplishing at the moment, haha. Impromptu organizing has been happening lately, in the office and kitchen. Inspirational at 5 AM when I can’t find my Thing, that Thing. Or my mom’s Thing. We probably totally crammed & chucked stuff in after moving. Finally feeling like a proper place to live.❤️

    Love and leaves to all this Fall.  May your Autumn be awesome 🧡


    “Your life is an occasion. Rise to it.” ~Suzanne Weyn


    Basically I’m low on Real art to show right now, fell for Fall, + since late July it’s been a daily battle because of hydrating and actually eating some glorious food, and trying to figure out what on earth to eat. 

    (Spamblings below about my medical and parent stuff  that I am not sure how to use a spoiler tag for: 

    (Kind of outdated content because I am the snail.)

    Some of these *holds back hysterical happy screams* magnificent daily meals of 500-600 calories I’ve had the unspeakable joy of ingesting. Mostly protein (severely low BUN on labs), bullion, salty sauces (and small amounts of the miracle of Mayo, cheese & ketchup) , and beloved vegetables.


     It stays in my body for 0.5-3 hours. I assume some of it must be absorbing, at least every gram of glucose spikes in my blood. An apple throws me over 250 at the two hour post-first-bite prick. The persisting hyperglycemia coupled with the rapid rejection and fluid floss are a true medical freak.  three years since eating adequately/more than a meal of daily broth and (celiac testing) bread,  or post stroke few bites of starchy stuff + severe dehydration. I now cry from gratitude while savoring such treats, then cry from pain trying not to blackout on the bath floor for the next few hours. This trade off/post ingestion punishment has absolutely improved my quality of life. I’m old and want to eat. If I were even given the choice of “last meal or continue living with feeding tube/TPN” you all are invited to the feast. There will be pizza, hummus, salmon, ice cream, cookies and watermelon. 


    The post drinking and eating reactions are much worse-for gory details of what that means: 0.5-2 hrs post ingestion = 15-30 (EDIT: now it’s typically 30-60) urgent GI episodes over the next 2-4 hours with low blood pressure, LUQ stabbing, face flushing, some throat constriction, tachycardia & hyperglycemia. Massive lower extremity edema. Samples tested, confirmed nonInfectious GI reactions as I already knew. Just the result of food and water. Leaving the bathroom is too risky, better to bring a floor pillow and try not to pass out. Thankfully with symptoms so severe I cannot be dismissed by doctors-they now keep telling me go to the ER for IV fluids. It’s exhausting to go to the ER with 3-4 diseases to only leave with needle wounds, and “I have no idea how to help, we are sorry, follow with your specialists and PCP” from frightened looking doctors, though. I don’t know if they’d do any useful tests/imaging. It’s been years since scans. 

    Thus, I  am surviving with concentrated lemon juice + Himalayan salt in Gatorade zero, coffee, and eating spoons of straight yellow mustard all day to replenish my electrolytes and bring up my dangerously low blood pressure. I’m drinking over 250oz water some days because of losing massive fluid amounts. I think I’m sleeping like 3 hrs a night, often?  My electrolytes were perfect at the last PCP visit a week ago leaving my doctor absolutely impressed (because she told me to go to the hospital that day,  but knowing I was okay, I didn’t). So apparently “bio-hacking” by ear is working. The basic blood panels did shockingly show useful info-I have idiopathic neutropenia and my BUN/protein is unsurprisingly severely low. Eggs, cottage cheese, Chicken-all so good, oh my gosh. It’s been years since I’ve eaten anything besides bread or broth. Eating so many beautiful vegetables, broths and some dairy, Mayo and proteins, I cannot wait to eat starches and fruits soon. They send me into hyperglycemia coma mode currently-even tiny amounts. I’m up to one ~600 calorie meal a day, I feel rich because it has been 3 years since eating this much (Metabolic m e s s. I, the inexplicably self-sustaining life form, haven't lost any more weight, in spite of my body rejecting everything ingested within 0.5-4 hours, so that’s a win, at least? Guessing the hyperglycemia has a role in this.). Totally worth the next three hours on the bathroom floor, haha. Finally getting some IG posts up thanks to this. I’m amazed at the skilled humans who can eat/drink (like multiple times in one day!) and function afterwards, please teach me your ways! 


    I don’t recommend this at all. DIY glucose tolerance testing. Overnight no drinking or eating, then a breakfast of 17.3 Twizzlerschoked down (while timed) in 5 minutes (updated number from Sci papers given 2023 nutritional content/this size). 


    I’m shocked by the blandness of the candy, was mildly improved with salt. Then glucose, BP & pulse recorded every hour for three hours. My PCP couldn’t order an oral glucose tolerance test. So I went PubMed and Mayo clinic vigilante (   https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3781564/ https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/glucose-tolerance-test/about/pac-20394296 ), conducted my own test and documented photo results/reactions in graphic detail. Test included losing consciousness on the bath floor with Gi epsiodes and sleeping almost entirely for two days. But yes! I was correct and my pancreas is pitiful. Doctor was so shocked by this she ordered a simultaneous office lab draw with my home monitor to calibrate/make sure my readings were real. They were 3pts off-highly accurate. So now recording the wacky high blood sugars I’m having in spite of barely eating & not even even any direct grainy/starch based carbs.


    I (& my mom when available) am taking my vitals and blood sugars through the day (at least 3x) , recording my daily intake of food and fluid and all the 10-30 daily medical episodes and symptoms. Then my mom types it into a Google doc. The point of this is so doctors can grasp how I’m actually living when sent links via the medical mychart messaging. I think I’d be horrified by it if it weren’t me in this body. Some things seem harder to watch than to live yourself. My mom is the best and I feel so bad about her dealing with all of it. Not  just seeing it-all the caregiving, bills and travel stress. Ex dad got away with zero financial help for her or me-dumping all the future + old medical bills he refused to pay on my mom. The legal things were settled mostly in February. Never in my life have I longed to walk out in traffic like this. No one else in my life had made me feel so utterly worthless. My stomach turns thinking about how no one gets away with anything, and the weight of what waits for some.  Guilt over the air I breathed. So my care/chronic sickness wouldn’t be even more of a burden to my poor mom any longer.. But thank goodness with every brain break and bad idea we by belief rise stronger.I am begging her to let my medical record bills go to collections, I have nothing of my own + disabling genetic incurable condition(s), so chances of future me ever being an Actual Adult and needing this “credit” thing are zero. [🎵my new (Taylor Swift) pseudo song is “I am never, ever, ever,  going to be better!”..because if I can’t beat it, I’ll dance to the beat of it 🎵] Applying for SSI takes an eternity, even with a free-till-won disability lawyer. A lot of this is the fact that I’ve been disabled/chronically ill since a child + homeschooled, and never been able to live like others. Their “residual job functioning capacity” questions and tests are completely irrelevant,  as I never have been able to fully function. I hope for Medicare/Medicaid approval. Exdad drops my insurance next year, and my mom, the full time tool cashier, cannot afford it. She’s calling the local ERs for financial aid applications. Duke keeps renewing my charity care/ full financial aid, though! Incredibly grateful. I don’t know how any of the grown up stuff works. If I  have no money and never have, am incurably diseased, disabled, and soon to be uninsured, where do they expect to get paid from? I know the ER cannot refuse to treat anyone, even the homeless, thankfully. I have no idea why my mom is trying to pay them, they only grow.  Exdad took the medical savings card access, too. His lawyer was so crooked and hers didn’t care. They tried to steal my mom’s inheritance. She barely got her inheritance childhood home, the abandoned puppy mill we were forced to flee to, then rebuild (but now SO love ❤️), leaving their marital home and life behind with him.  He is trying to cause problems by not signing the divorce papers, so the restraining order may be renewed. He cannot stop the divorce, court can force it. It’s about him trying to keep his small retirement savings. He also didn’t sign the paperwork on the one old car my mom got, then canceled the insurance on it (this is the only car my mom got out of the total old 4 family cars-and this was her mom’s 19 year old mom inheritance car. And she was driving me to Duke hospital regularly in this) intentionally sabotaging us. Making it illegal to drive that car, as  my mom couldn’t legally pay for insurance on a car not signed over to her. This was all happening late July as we were daily evaluating whether I should go to the ER. But driving there would be illegal-my mom had to short-drive to work with legal paperwork and hope not to get pulled over. She ultimately had to take the small sum she barely got from the divorce split up and buy a new used car, as she could buy insurance for it. We are terribly grateful, she loves it, and it’s so nice for the wheelchair, but wow. My mom is wise and would never ordinarily make such a purchase without being cautious. I shudder at the future of some evil individuals. Thank goodness we no longer live with such darkness. I have the noblest mom ever. Being safe and free makes up for possible poverty. Nothing in life is better than to be with companions worthy.  Everything is far better than last year! It's only the uncertainty medically with me, along with the possibility of her adopted criminal creep brother being released from prison soon-we don’t know if he gets 4+ more years. He is not welcome here, nor may he drain my mom. 

     She deserved so much better, and I trust the tide’s truly turning. I wish I could fix it all for her.  But I can’t…so instead I’ll try to do the chores + cook for her between collapsing, and decorate inside these walls with the spirit of Fall! (Wheelchair power!!!) Creations can cheer countless clouds away.


    Doctor visits were awesome last time given the battle royale removal of my medical-kidnapping-misdiagnosis! So weird to be treated like a human being with value instead of a worthless little worm. For some reason my PCP (who had blindly gone along with the sketchy GI doctor and fully blamed me) now seems to respect me since I explained/proved it and almost fired her too, haha. So strange not to be a scapegoat. I’m baffled for being believed and am almost crying with relief. Rheumatology successfully got me back to my endocrinologist for Carcinoid syndrome/NET. This time around I don’t have to consider falsely telling them I want to change genders just to get an appointment- three years ago I was desperately sick and considering this strategy. I instead got in due to my systemic nonstature stunting/being a human horseshoe crab. That appointment is at the end of March 2024. Three years since she hastily “doctor punted” my complex case to GI & rheumatology while I was telling her that did not explain my endocrine symptoms. I’m also on a new Duke GI doctor waitlist for a January 2024 appointment. Still nobody has/can reread my crimped artery abdominal ultrasound. The plan is to contact PCP if my fasting blood sugars get above a certain number consistently (they are almost there). I, at the time of writing this, have a test for POTS soon where I will be tied to a tilt table with the “different provoking measures we may use during the test- deep breathing, blowing into a tube, hand in ice water, and nitroglycerin.” 

    *googles nitroglycerin*….😎🍿)


    So that’s life lately! I am constantly shocked at the adaptability of the human body! Grateful beyond belief. 

    My cup is not half empty, nor half full, for I find it overflos. 


    Random wildlife visits! The crow knocking on the window woke me up!



    And I went to grab the the web-stuck butterfly for decor but the poor thing wasn’t dead, flew away instead!


    Resident falcon visits a good bit.GSZTYHAITIKS0Gex-Du0rNDZwmCIWlmQdTFZuKR03M8RmpcX7-lCrvd_hg2rNB3doKMmGUwCDSCO7xyPngQZObFmt2JTSRIpGNPDOTDFOsSoAxLlqslgos7e9gVcdYpiDJxt5sWCm-70wjVheO3TBxs

     And when new carpenter Uncle Dave surprises you while you were gone on a doctor daytrip and patches your crumby pillars + leaves gifts of homegrown tomatoes at your door!-TnwtFj2tteCVhHNlnsHxObGEiDpZiMhwoe1I9mKvnON5x-oUDjVbgx7ZfJU7sHXalWYSDWk3q91U-2JA5mfeJfFtM-33RxmwBwsSXocia1x3aNn1lIu4dflFQAp8xvwd1ueUqmQR1Z3xFHf4Vt6qy8

     Little metal cross created by my mom’s customer and generously chucked at her, now cherished in  paperclip holder.


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    Connecting to server....
    Downloading memories....
    All systems online.
    Now commencing operations.



  4. For a while, I've been working on something. It's a 100-page history of the entire world, beginning with the invention of writing in ancient Sumer and going all the way to the modern day. It has not been easy. I have been able to work on it twice a week and make 5-8 pages per session. I am 90% of the way done, and my mind is racing.

    This is something that part of me has always wanted to do. I loved watching The History Channel and asking my dad about the Civil War and American Revolution when I was a kid. Even then, I always wanted to somehow categorize all this knowledge, and now I'm actually doing it. Honestly, I was bored in history class in school. I always wanted to go deeper and look at more primary documents. But at the same time, whenever I tried to do my own research, I quickly found myself overwhelmed at all the books and articles I had access to. I never knew where to start.

    It is titled Elementary World History and one of the reasons I am writing it is to provide something I would have benefitted from as a child. It is a sampling of history, not going too deep into any of the topics I cover. (Getting the entirety of World War II into a single page was not easy, but I did it.) The finished book will be dedicated to my nephew, who is still a baby. I hope he grows up to love history and gets some enjoyment out of it. I'm going to print it out and put it in a binder for him.

    I don't know anything about actually getting stuff published. I've written novel-length stories before that none of the publishers I reached out to wanted. Honestly, I'd say the publishing aspect is harder than actually writing the book.

  5. Skrade's Log

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    Checking out the new Masks of Power trailer made me really nostalgic for my old BZP days. I really miss the huge community we used to have. I always say I'd like to come back into the fold, but I haven't committed yet. Bionicle has always had a special place in my heart though. Not to be dramatic but I feel like it really shaped part of who I am. After everything that's happened to me, through life and work and new relationships and long gone relationships and the discovery of my true identity, I am still a Toa warrior 💙💗🤍💗💙

  6. Voltex
    Latest Entry

    Today is #810nicleday and so I thought I might use this opportunity to visit this old place to once again share some of the artwork that some fantastic folks have done for the campaigns I run over in the BZPGOT Discord server!

    But first things first: an invitation. If you're interested in potentially participating in any future games (or simply want to hang out with other Bionicle fans), you can click the invite link to join us!

    Anyway, onto the art. Today I wanted to highlight the series of covers that I commissioned for Verdant Wind two years ago. If I've done it right, you should be able to click the image to see a higher resolution.


    Verdant Wind was the ultimate culmination of five years' worth of stories. It served as a grand finale for every character and story that had appeared up to that point, and to celebrate the occasion, I commissioned several covers for it.

    The first cover, done by @TBK, is the official cover of Verdant Wind. It features the leaders of three player factions standing off against the game's main antagonist, with the broken pieces of my own NPC's mask in the dirt behind them.

    The first variant cover, done by @ToaTImeLord, features those same player characters standing off against each other - fitting, as Verdant Wind brought them back into conflict before bringing them together.

    The second variant cover was done by @xccj. In addition to the leaders, this cover features much of the other player characters - those who made up the core cast of the Edge of Dawn arc.

    The third and fifth variant covers were done by some of my IRL friends (and yes, that fifth one is watercolor!). Both feature the faction leaders.

    The fourth variant cover was done by @ZippyWharrgarbl. Like Xccj's cover, this one features much of the player cast, with a couple cameos and secrets sneakily inserted as well.

    The sixth variant cover was done by @Jakura Nuva. It features the three player faction leaders being crushed beneath the game's main antagonist.

    The seventh variant cover is a unique one; I commissioned it later than the others, as Verdant Wind reached its halfway point (and the big twist that would come with it - one that ultimately united the entire game world together). @Akaku: Master of Flight did a fantastic job bringing it to life; it features a set of characters who together represent every era of the games up to that point, working together.

    The eight variant cover is also unique. I am responsible for the design, but I take no credit for the artwork used - that's all TBK and Akaku.


    Anyway, that's all for today, folks. Hope you enjoyed!

  7. Valendale
    Latest Entry

    So, it's been a while since my last blog entry, and I've made some big steps in life. Thought I'd drop in and talk about it a little.

    I took my 2nd year of master's classes fully online. It was a big change from living deeply within the campus culture like I had for the previous six years, but I finished it up and graduated for the 2nd time! It was a lot of work, especially trying to balance it with job applications and attempting to have some semblance of a social life, primarily with friends who lived far away from me.

    It paid off though, because I did get a job! I actually interned at this same agency last summer. I'm only a month or so in, but so far I'm very satisfied. I think this will be a job I can be fulfilled at.

    Getting a job also meant I had to move into my own place. Technically I lived away from my parents while at college, but this is the first time it's just me. No roommates. I picked the furniture, all the messes are mine, and I'm the only one cleaning them up. It's close enough to work for me to walk too, which I really enjoy. Still exploring the surrounding area, but I do like my apartment's location.

    I also went to two Brickfairs! (Maybe I should do a highlight post like the old days?) Both were great fun. Last year, I met some people from the SCBricks LUG, which I've since joined. That's been a great ride over the last year, meeting people and going to events. Just before Brickfair this year, I did my first local show with the LUG. It was completely different from a huge convention, just being in a little library, but I think we put on an excellent show! This year's Brickfair had me bringing @T-Dawg for his first time doing the full con. Hope he enjoyed it as much as I did. I miss a lot of the old friends I hung out with at past Brickfairs, but I love all the new people I've had the chance to meet! I'd also be remiss not to shoutout @Mushy the Mushroomfor really making my Brickfair! (As well as basically keeping this site alive.) And there's one observation I made at this show that really encapsulated it:

    I didn't have breadsticks at Brickfair this year, but I sure at a lot of Thai food. Sometimes old ways have to fall away to be replaced by something new and equally beautiful.

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  9. Congrats to Mushy The Mushroom!


    Please feel free to suggest colors!

    I myself will suggest Lime Green on Navy Blue.

  10. Hey y'all! Been a while since I've really given much an update here. I know there has been a lot of these sorta posts here in recent years, but I figured it's my turn to sincerely thank you all for making this considerable chunk of my childhood so enjoyable. Seriously, I'll never forget the time I spent here, however brief and distant those days now feel. That so many people gave me nothing but support to my art in its earliest, roughest years, that my fiancée and many of my best friends I still have today I all met on here, I wouldn't be the person I am today without this place :)

    I feel that even though I was just a child, I should still apologize for much of the cringey, childish behavior I displayed back in those days. I've done a lot of growing up in the years following my first arrival here, to say the least. Rest assured, you wont have to worry about me writing such scathing set critiques as 'tahu sux', as was my very first comment on this message board, or shoehorning anymore UNSC Frigates into text based Bionicle RPGs when the GMs are asleep. Yes, I was one of those players, and I'm still deeply embarrassed (although admittedly now also amused) to think back about it.

    I'm honestly glad that this place is still around, even in its much quieter state, that we can still check in on each other from time to time. Who knows, maybe with the way social media's been going lately, there'll be a resurgence in smaller web forums? Wishful thinking I know, but who knows what the future holds. Since 2011 or so every few years I've just been kinda drifting from place to place on the internet. One thing I really miss from ye olde days was that you could actually get to know people, whereas places like twitter and reddit are just so huge that even the communities within those communities just never really felt like communities, if that makes any sense. Discord is a nice sorta middleground though, I suppose.

    So, what have I been up to? Well, after spending way too long trying to figure out what I wanted to do with my life, I eventually settled on taking some very lengthy and extensive courses for making what I make best, Graphic novels and comics. Those wrapped up a few years ago, and off and on I've been working on an original story ever since. There's been a lot of hiccups along the way due to all sorts of things from personal issues to family ones, to the pandemic to construction near my apartment driving me absolutely nuts. I never thought I could hate a sound so much as I do the sound of a pile driver... Thankfully, most of that is over with now, a lot of the biggest issues in my life all kind of resolved one way or another in the past few months, which has been really nice. 

    If anyone's curious to learn more about the Graphic Novel I'm working on, Let me know and I'll make more posts going more in depth about it here! Long story short is it's a colonial-era fantasy/redemption themed adventure story with a good mix of serious stakes and some lighthearted humour, starring an undead knight and two adventurers that freed him from an ancient curse. Shoutout to @Inferna Firesword, @Lord Kini Hawkeye, and @Zahaki, they've all had a hand in helping me develop different aspects of it as its come along :D

    (And while I'm mentioning people: paging @Kagha, @Aych Ehn, @Repicheep - Toa of Irony, @Japoro - Toa of Ice, @Kothra, @Gavla, @Grantaire, @Zyrnix, @Cap'n Sparrow, @DYLAN the SINKING STAR, and @.:Zero The Vampire:.; even if its years from me making this post that any of you happen to randomly log on and come across this, I would love to hear how y'all are doing these days. It might take a while, but I guarantee I'll read it and get back to you eventually! Same goes for anyone else honestly, happy to hear how everyone is doing :) I just called out the above folks in particular because I haven't heard from any of them in around a decade, lol.)

    In any case, I think that's all for now.  Hope anyone reading this has a great morning/afternoon/evening, wherever you are!


    (PS: Googly eyed Tahu is a treasure, and nobody can convince me otherwise :P )


    --Akaku: Master of Flight

  11. Canama
    Latest Entry

    i recently had an Actual Nightmare where I got banned from bzpower. like the kind where you wake up and have to check just to reassure yourself that it's not real. it's funny--it's not like i really come on here very much anymore. it's not like anyone comes on here very much anymore. if my account were to actually be banned it would make no difference in my life.

    when i joined bzpower, i was eight; now i find myself uncomfortably close to thirty. thirty still seems so old to me. i could never--not as a kid or a teenager, not even in my early twenties--conceive of being thirty. i still can't. and yet the calendar insists that there are just a few years left.

    as i get older, i find myself trying to hold onto tchotchkes of my childhood--things that have no functional value to me now except in the conveyance of memories. sometimes they appear in my dreams; bzpower is not unique in this regard. i want to remember who i was, where i came from, to keep from finding myself unmoored in time. when i was a teenager, i was glad that bzpower lost the old forums database and majhost went down and spared me the humiliation of knowing my awful attempts at a sprite comic or my execrable fanfictions were still out there somewhere. now i find myself saddened by their loss. no one else will mourn them, of course. (nor, frankly, should they.) none of these things had value to anyone but me.

    the banning of this account would represent a final foreclosure on that past, an admittance that it's over and done. realistically, that past is gone forever anyways and there is no going back--but while it exists i can pretend, if only for a moment, that it is still 2005, still 2008, still 2012, can step back into my old selves and see the world through their eyes.

    at least this blog remains, in its entirety. its first entry (actually, its first four entries) was posted the very day blogs were made available on this site. the things i wrote as a child survive, even with their atrocious spelling (faveorite???) and utterly vapid content (i was, in retrospect, not a particularly smart kid). by my teenage years i had mostly moved on from bzpower, but you can see bits and pieces of my adolescent struggle for self-actualization posted here. none of this will mean anything to any of you. this very post is nothing more than an exercise in self-indulgence. but it means something to me.

    i'm glad i'm not banned.

  12. Recently I managed to find someone selling the Bionicle Quest for Makuta board game online. It was in pretty good condition. An excellent addition to my collection.

    I also picked up a few other board games. Just something to do with the kids I work with. One of the games was Monopoly. What did I find inside the box?

    A single Cordak bullet.

    The evidence speaks for itself. Family game night turned violent, the Toa Mahri intervened, and there were no survivors. 😔

    Open and shut case.

    Bake him away, toys.

  13. Hey, all! I'm still alive and kicking! I hope you are all doing well as I know it's been a long time since my last visit.

    Life has been uh... or I guess continued to be crazy? But things are mostly pretty good right now, there is still a lot that could be better but I'm still here and trying to move forward. My last entry was 2019... so a lot has happened. I'm back in my house thankfully. It's not perfect but it's livable so that's a good thing. Housing was questionable for awhile from hotel to RV to another rental. I'm a manager at a pharmacy so that's unexpected and I guess interesting. On April 4, 2021 my father passed away so that's been tough especially as we just passed the two year anniversary of that so Tuesday was a hard day. But I met more new friends and people I care about and twoish weeks ago we hung out for the first time and that was some fun that I found was sorely needed as I haven't done something like that in a long time.

    There have been ups and downs as that's life.

    Lately though I've been streaming on Twitch! I've recently become a Twitch Affiliate and early in the year streamed some Lego Building.

    And on Saturday I am going to be building a few sets on stream at 1pm ET!

    We're building:

    40581 BIONICLE Tahu and Taku
    40516 Everyone is Awesome
    ... And a couple more but one of them is unofficial... but for Bionicle fans of 2004 should be very familiar.

    There is a whole tweet that announces it and hints at it right here.

    I also plan to giveaway a few small sets I have during the stream. (It's nothing too huge but it's still free Lego.)

    I also stream video games with a lot of friends. So if you like that kind of thing feel free to check it out.

    If you feel like joining the Lego stream will be at 1pm over on my Twitch channel!

    And I'll try not to be a stranger.

  14. I've been wanting to get a copy of the original WALL-E set for a while now. This morning a local independent Lego store got one in and I couldn't resist!


    The box is in absolutely mint condition, like it just came off the shelf - and it's staying that way! Won't be building him anytime soon, if ever. He was a bit pricey, but I traded in a few sealed sets that I had duplicates of to make the purchase more palatable.

    Now I need to get the new Brickheadz version!

  15. It's a Blog

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    Dropping in again for no reason, seeing who's about. Still a few folk I remember doing similar now and again, kind of nice.

    Been doing some self-reflecting recently, bit of therapy and that, you know how it is. Probably should've been doing that as a teenager but eh, better late than never. Actually brought up this place during a few sessions, was very much a place I turned to to be 'validated' when I wasn't getting that elsewhere in my life. Growing up I had nobody around who shared my interests and a lot of folk who just thought I was dumb - so BZP gave me a place to have shared interests, and be seen as 'smart' for knowing a lot of Bionicle lore. And then the 'popularity' and 'fame' I'd get leaking set pictures or kicking off for gay rights or whatever was giving me the attention I wasn't getting elsewhere. And there'd be a bit of a 'fight' mentality in all of that because of dissatisfaction elsewhere in life. A lot of the motivations and brain loops involved back then have persisted over the years - getting quieter, but when I step back and look I can still see that stuff is cycling around in my head a lot. People's opinion of me informs a lot, I do a lot to be valued by people and react badly when I even get the WHIFF that people think I might be dumb or not understand something - it's like I have to 'prove' myself in those situations. It's all able to be traced back, and seeing this stuff laid out like that and mapping it all back just makes it all a lot easier. I can see how my brain naturally functions, and why.

    Wiped this blog because I mentioned it to a few people IRL and they tracked it down, them seeing how I used to be was not a comfortable thing so I panic deleted as they started reading. Bad times. It's tricky with new people, you get the fresh start with them, but having a previous version of yourself 'preserved' online for them to also see is....yeah it's weird innit.

    Anyway, things are good overall. It's cool analyzing myself a bit more - always growth to be had, just trying to actively dig for it a little bit more at the minute. Pretty fun and cool. 

    Also, you know what I'm desperate for? A run-down of like, what happened with every BIG NAME person from BZP back in the day. I wanna know where everyone is and when they dropped off the site and why etc. I live for the GOSSIP.

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    17; 18; 1



  16. Ta-metru_defender
    Latest Entry

    Well, after a brief Invision Board-based hiatus, we're back!

    Did you like that video review of Tahu and Takua? I haven't done one in a while and it was fun to dive back in, especially since, over the past year, I've moved to doing video post-production full time. I was freelancing for around a year at a couple of documentary houses until last month when I started as a staff Assistant Editor a trailer house. If you saw the trailer for Indiana Jones and The Dial of Destiny, that was us. I had nothing to do with that Indy trailer, but I did see a TV Spot I helped out with on TV on New Year's Eve, so that was pretty dope. There are a lot of projects in the pipe that I can't talk about (I'm NDA'd within an inch of my life) but it's super cool to, y'know, be doing this professionally.

    Part of the fun of the gig is getting to see how those trailers are made and see all the ways the Editors make them work. And then learn from them and use them when cutting something else.

    Like a video review for a Bionicle site.


    I put more effort into this than the other reviews I did, part because it's Bionicle and part because, well, I wanted to take stuff I've learnt out on a semi-dry run. There was an AfterEffects project too to enhance the glow in the opening too, plus some foley and externally-recorded sound. Then some funky sound design too 'cuz this stuff is fun.

    Because hey, I am a proper professional.



  17.  After a season of change, I've emerged with a new set of musings gleaned from a new hobby - board games. 

    A new set of friends who became family (because the season of change definitely included but was not limited to marriage), have introduced me to a slew of various card/board games. Unfortunately I married into a very strategically savvy family, but fortunately they still know how to make the experience fun. 

    To clarify, "favorite" here equates to the combined most enjoyability and re-playability. The optimal board game for me is something just the two of us can bust out after dinner when we don't want to do dishes right away, enjoy, and move along with our evening. 

    In ranked order my favorites are: 

    1. Splendor
    2. Firefly
    3. Codenames
    4. Coup
    5. Boss Monster
    6. Azul
    7. Gloomhaven: Jaws of the Lion
    8. Red Dragon Inn
    9. Hive
    10. Onitama

    Games that didn't quite make the list:

    • Ticket to Ride
    • Carcassonne
    • Villainous
    • 7 Wonders

    A bit about the "not quite" list - something they all have in common was that when I learned them the first time, they were poorly explained.  The new games I ended up liking the most either were explained systematically with clear win-conditions from the start, or they were completely new to everyone so we figured it out together. I'm sure there will come a day when most, if not all of these games make it into the actual ranking list. 


    Honorable mentions that don't count because they are not new to me, but would still recommend:


    • Scattergories
    • Bananagrams
    • Catch Phrase
    • "What did you knock over this time?!?", a game with the Little Peeps (below), which I must admit is not my favorite but for some reason we keep playing it. Every day. Multiple times. But look at that face. 


    Moving on to the reasoning behind my top choices from the actual games list. I promise this is not just a post about the cat. I hope you don't expect too much explanation or a tutorial on how to play, as this is not a game review blog. I will simply state what I found enjoyable, challenging, and frustrating - like a very subjective pros and cons list. 

    Common deciding factors are: 

    Commitment - Some games are highly enjoyable, but are also highly complex and require a larger number of players. Large time and/or social commitment detract from re-playability. 

    Complexity - Closely tied to commitment, but not the same. Basically, how difficult it was for me to learn. An example of a game that I would consider higher in complexity but lower commitment would be Red Dragon Inn, listed below. 

    Versatility in # of Players- A game that is easily playable and enjoyable both in a group or just the two of us is ideal. Yes, I'm aware there are many "two player variants" for some of the games lower on my list, but learning a new variant would up the complexity and mental commitment and thus lower the overall enjoyability for me. 

    Cut-Throatedness - This is where the "sore loser" aspect of this post comes in, and this is probably the most subjective measure on this list. I have learned that I am much more of a sore loser than I originally had thought. Now, this factor is somewhat related to number of players. It is also the reason why Hive and Onitama are at the bottom of my list. They are both exclusively two player games, and you must take something away from the other person to beat them, if that makes sense. I can lose in Splendor all day and feel fine, because it's more of a resource race with optional/minimal "mess with the other person in their face" mechanics. But losing so directly in Hive, losing each turn and knowing it, gets old really quickly. 

    1. Splendor (image source)

    I'm just going to throw an x/10 rating for some of the pertinent factors, and then my 2 cents. And just keep in mind that a 10/10 in a given category may not be a good thing in my book. 

    Commitment: 3/10 - low time commitment is a plus for me, can definitely play this while a pot of rice simmers or something. 
    Complexity: 5/10 - not entirely sure how to have an accurate/consistent complexity scale. It was easy enough to learn and play, but the pattern of thinking needed to make progress is so different from my usual that it never feels boring. 
    Versatility: 8/10 - This is the game we play most often, just the two of us, and one we recommend most to play with friends and/or bring to family gatherings (probably tied with Codenames). The only thing I would improve is to have condensed travel-version, because playing at cafes and informal restaurants (like a pizzeria) is a favorite thing for us to do. 
    Cut-Throat: 4/10 - There are definitely ways for you to mess with other people in this game, or try to, but there are enough other ways for them to keep progressing or mess with you in return that it doesn't get discouraging (again, very subjective factor). 

    Pros: Fun, relatively simple to learn, pretty art, very tactile tokens (those things are solid), and a potentially cool Marvel version that I have yet to play. 
    Cons: I still haven't won a two-player game, the pieces are small enough that the kitten can easily mess up the entire board (most games have this con, now that I think about it). 


    2. Firefly: The Game (image source)

    This game is so so great, we absolutely love it, and actually re-arranged an entire room in our house so we can more easily play this game kitten-free. That is, she gets to roam the whole house while we spread the game and various decks across multiple tables in a small room 😂. It definitely helps to have seen the TV show, which was actually recommended to me for the first time by old BZP friends back when I was in high school :) the only reason this game is #2 and not #1 is because of the effort it takes (combination of time commitment, complexity, and the low points of versatility). 

    Commitment: 9/10 - We have routinely set aside 3-4 hours for this game, as per instructions, but each time it has taken 4.5+ hours. The exception was playing through a fan-made scenario recently crafted specifically for a two player cooperative game. 
    Complexity: 7/10 - Not gonna lie, it was a lot to learn at first. So many moving parts to the game and mechanics. That said, once you learn it, it was easy to keep going and pick back up. Still complicated, but not difficult. 
    Versatility: 7/10 - This is great in versatility because 1 player scenarios are possible and fun, 2 player scenarios are possible and fun, etc. etc., but additionally, there are great fan-made scenarios that are playable and fun. The negatives on versatility are that once you set it up, you're stuck there for a while. There's no sane reason why you would want to take this to a coffee shop for an afternoon unless you want to lose half the tokens and pieces and cards. 
    Cut-Throat: 2/10 - The way the scenarios are set up, and the variety of ways you can achieve the series of goals to meet the win conditions make the game competitive in the "racing" sense, rather than the cut-throat way. Actually to the point that even I wish there were more direct ways to mess with other players. However, this is not a negative factor for me, because if there were other ways to mess with other players, I would probably be getting the short end of the straw. Both Splendor and Firefly are solid favorites because they are highly replayable with a variety of numbers of players. 

    Pros: Goes so well with the show! Adds a whole new layer of fun. You get to follow a story line, which is always fun. It's fast-paced enough to keep you engaged and not complex enough that you have to pay attention to every single move every single person makes, so you can relax, grab a snack or chat throughout. Also has cool expansions, or so I'm told. 

    Cons: Complex set up for comparatively simple gameplay, need lots of time and considerable amount of space. Also kind of expensive, but totally worth it. 



    3. Codenames (image source)

    Don't let the low numbers in the ratings fool you, this game is one of the most enjoyable ones we have on our shelf. 

    Commitment: 3/10 - This one is nice because you can easily play multiple rounds without getting tired of it, or at least we can when the family gets together. And if someone gets tired or needs a break, they can step out for a round with little to no impact (depending on number of players). 
    Complexity: 3/10 - Very easy to pick up the gist by just watching a few rounds, although some explaining would probably be necessary before fully playing as both a team member and taking a turn as the codemaster. 
    Versatility: 3/10 - This is the one major drawback, we've found it best with 6+ players, 4 at the very least, as it's a team game. We haven't tried the 2-player variant yet, but it's enjoyable enough that we have plans to in the near future. It also would not be ideal for a travel game because of the 5x5 grid of small cards that are easily lost. 
    Cut-Throat: 5/10 - So this 5/10 is more for general competition aspect and perceived pressure during gameplay, not necessarily because of any cut-throat mechanics. Guessing and being the hint-giver/codemaster both feel relatively high pressure to me, but that's part of what makes it so enjoyable.

    Pros: great combination of social deduction, word association, strategy and teamwork. 
    Cons: higher player number needed, so we don't play it as often as we like. 



    4. Coup (image source)


    Coup is probably the game we've had the most laughs with, just the dynamic of how well different people bluff or don't. 

    Commitment: 2/10 - Pretty simple set up, don't need much table space if any, and a round can probably be as short as 5 minutes, although that somewhat depends on number of players. We probably average 10-15 minutes per round in a game with 5 players. 
    Complexity: 4/10 - A bit difficult to learn and keep certain rules straight, but also straightforward with refreshingly black-and-white rules compared to all the lying and bluffing the game is based around (my husband describes it as a streamlined version of poker). 
    Versatility: 6/10 - I would travel with this game! One of the main downsides is that it requires at least 3 players to really make it worth it, although, again, we are researching more into the 2-player variant. 
    Cut-Throat: 8/10 - This is the exception on the list, the game is by nature cut-throat, with the goal to be the last man standing. I think part of what helps is that the rounds go so quickly, and you tend to go out quickly when you do, so it's not a slow, inevitable defeat you have to watch unfold before you. And everyone else killing each other off after you're out is many times more entertaining and educational anyways.

    Pros: Very strategic and simple once you learn it, and has a significant social aspect, which is always a fun variable to throw in. 
    Cons: If you're very against lying, morally, this is not a game for you. 



    5. Boss Monster (image source)


    Commitment: 3/10 - This is another game that's easy to play in under half an hour. The setup is comparatively simple, and it's easy enough to play a second or third round if you want to. 
    Complexity: 4/10 - Pretty straightforward, but the variety of monster/trap rooms and combinations lend variability that keeps everything interesting. 
    Versatility: 7/10 - Great to play two player, because there is some element of randomness/luck involved that tables can turn quickly (something I like and annoys my husband). Also good with groups, and theoretically could be played while out and about, but probably not outside. 
    Cut-Throat: 4/10 - This one really depends on number of players. Even if it's just the two of you, it's possible to win without messing with the other player, which can get tiring if you're always the target. However, it's obviously not as fun if you don't play the "gotcha" cards on the other player, thus it's better as a more-than-two player game, but can be played pretty sustainably as such. 

    Pros: Great pixel art! I have the biggest nostalgic soft spot for pixel art. Also what I think is a creative, unique dungeon/deck-building theme that I think is just charming. 
    Cons: Not initially as much variety in the decks as I'd thought, we were interested in expansion packs pretty early on. 

    6. Azul (image source)


    Commitment: 4/10 - Although we haven't played it in a while, it's pretty simple to set up, put away, etc. It can be played in under an hour, although sometimes it's extended past that. The players have the ability to trigger the last round pretty early on, so the play time can vary greatly. 
    Complexity: 3/10 - Pretty easy to learn and then teach. The only somewhat tricky part is learning the scoring. And a lot of the scoring turns into honors system, which is fine for adults, but if we teach the nieces I have a feeling we'll have to keep a closer eye on their score counters. 
    Versatility: 7/10 - Great for 2 players, great for more than that, with the only difference in set up being the number of tiles available each round. Also tactile enough to take different places without fear of it blowing away (that is, no cards), although it can take up a decent amount of space. And I'd highly caution against losing even a single tile. 
    Cut-Throat: 2/10 - Nice and chill, and honestly gameplay went better when we focused on our own scores. When we tried to get to the resources (tiles, in this case) that we thought everyone else wanted, instead of the ones we knew we needed, it was a much longer game with much slower progress overall. That is, a more cut-throat style of gameplay is possible, but nets an overall negative result based on our experience (of course, maybe we were doing it wrong? I'm sure it's possible to play that way and do it well. Shrug). 

    Pros: So pretty! Very tactile, and I would love to teach this game to our niece. And my mother. I think the fact that it doesn't look like a scary strategy game (which it's not, really), appeals to a wider player base. Also it's tactile-centric, which is always fun. Very solid tiles, and again, just beautiful, fun designs. 
    Cons: Honestly, the only con in this game for me is that I'm constantly stuck playing with highly strategic people who do the equivalent of counting cards, so they're just always ahead and in power the entire game. Some level of unpredictability/luck would be useful. 


    7. Gloomhaven: Jaws of the Lion (image source)


    Commitment: 9/10 - We needed to schedule an extra 45 minutes for setup alone, essentially, although this included small talk and such. Imagine a somewhat streamlined version of  D&D that's just dungeon crawling and fighting. So far it has a fun story (bonus is that you don't need a DM, the guide books/monster decks are basically the DM for you). But we needed upwards of 5 hours per scenario, every flat surface we owned, and needed to schedule the sessions with our other two players, which always becomes a logistics battle sooner or later. 
    Complexity: 10/10 - I'm not sure where to begin describing this complexity, so just trust me. Like, I'm sure there are much more complex games out there, in fact, I know there are. But out of the games mentioned here, this is far and away the most complicated. 
    Versatility: 1/10 - Not much flexibility in setup, like even if one of the various decks a player has set out gets nudged over an inch, everything feels off. 
    Cut-Throat: 2/10 - It's a cooperative campaign game, so that's cool. Very limited movesets for your characters, at least the level we're at. But the scenarios themselves felt pretty challenging. More than once we spent 3+ hours working our way through a room, only to fail and have to start over (usually we just called it an evening and rescheduled). 

    Pros: It is fun once you get going. It really is. It just takes a lot to get there. It also has an intriguing story and a cool world. It's expensive, but you get so much bang for your buck. I'm constantly amazed how much fit into the game box (and continues to fit back in).
    Cons: It's just a huge effort any time we want to play. Sometimes I miss playing (it's been a few months), but the other two players in our party are busy now with holiday stuff, so it's unlikely we'll play again anytime soon. 


    8. Red Dragon Inn (image source)

    Okay so as a bit of a disclaimer, I think I've only actually played this one once? I really enjoyed it when I did, so that should say something. But the disclaimer is to note that I have no idea how to really rate it. 

    Commitment: 5/10 - It felt like it took a long time, but we had a large amount of players. 
    Complexity: 4/10 - It was simple once I got the hang of what a turn looked like. It's a fun balancing act and "gotcha" tricks you play on other players, or tavern-goers. There's a gambling mini-game built in that I remember really hating/being confused by though. 
    Versatility: 5/10 - It seemed easy to play with many people (we had 7 at one point), but I imagine playing with two players would be much less fun.  
    Cut-Throat: 5/10 - Most of the game seemed based on playing your cards' effects on other players to their detriment, but with enough players, the effects felt spread out enough that it didn't feel cut-throat. 

    Pros: Great art, fun concept, you can choose a character to play as and get really into it if you want. 
    Cons: Unsure, but it was fun (except gambling, no idea why that gets to be a thing). 

    9. Hive (image source)

    Commitment: 3/10 - Very easy to play even while you wait for your pizza to come out, fits on a pretty small area usually, but the hive has no boundaries and can grow in weird directions if you're not careful. 
    Complexity: 3/10 - I say it's like streamlined chess without a board. My husband who plays chess for fun (shudder) disagrees. 
    Versatility: 9/10 - This is very fun because you can really take it anywhere. We've played it outside on a mountain top, in the aforementioned pizza place, in our backyard, etc. Fun shape, fun concept, easy to teach others. Only detriment in versatility is that you don't have the option to expand past a two-player game.
    Cut-Throat: 9/10 - I believe this fits the "zero sum game" category. If you progress, it's to the detriment of your opponent. Thus, the reason why I can only lose so many times in a row - you feel every inch that's taken from you. Also, it really depends on pacing. If you fall behind by one step, it's only a matter of time before you lose, and you know it within one or two turns. It is possible to draw, though. 

    Pros: Versatile, fun and well-designed tiles, I think it's a pretty unique concept (surround you opponent's queen bee using your other bug tiles with their specific movement abilities), easy enough to play with kids. I definitely did this and lost to a six year old not on purpose. 
    Cons: You can lose to a six year old. 

    10. Onitama (image source)

    Commitment: 4/10 - This one varies in time commitment, although the surface area required is probably one of the smallest on the list, along with Hive and Coup. Games can be quick, under 10 minutes, or run over 45 minutes. It really depends on the cards you have to work with and how stubborn/careless both of you are. 
    Complexity: 4/10 - Simple enough concept, and interesting. It's kind of like checkers but you have a rotating set of move patterns (Tiger, Cobra etc. that you see in the picture), and the strategy involved in how the cards rotate between you and your opponent really stretched my brain. I liked it. 
    Versatility: 7/10 - Pretty good travel game, it comes with a roll-up mat that's like a mouse pad, and pretty solid figurines. Cards have potential to blow away though. Also can only play 2 players. 
    Cut-Throat: 9/10 - Again, since it's like chess/checkers, you win based on the other person losing. Sometimes it's possible to have a stalemate, but that's rare from what we've found. This is another one I can only lose so many times in a row.

    Pros: Really pretty cards! I like the mythos worked in, like you see the tiger lunging forward, the cobra I think is supposed to be dancing back and forth trying to hypnotize. I find it more tolerable than chess or checkers because of the rotating moveset mechanic. 
    Cons: Really can drag on if you let it. Also if your game has 5 bad cards, you're kind of stuck with them for the game.

    Phew. I didn't think this post would take the entire afternoon when I sat down with the idea, but here I am, one afternoon later 😅. If you stuck with me this long, thanks, and I hope it was worth your while one way or another - maybe an idea for a holiday gift or something. 

    I am always open to new suggestions, and of course any hints for improving this or that!




  18. Just want to share this pic of my son playing with some Bionicle sets for the first time. It melted my heart, if anyone else will get it it's got to be you guys!


    My plans to indoctrinate the babies are finally coming to fruition. 🤨

  19. The best thing I can say right now is that the breaks between my blog entries are much, much longer than the breaks between my artistic endeavours (please imagine those two words in a more sarcastic tone). Wish I knew what was the problem, but sitting down to draw is no longer as easy nor natural as it used to be. Mostly, I am afraid, I think. Afraid of what I create not lining up with what I had in mind (a given, if I rarely try my hands at it.) Afraid of only being able to produce slightly off, slightly nightmarish vent art when really all I want to do is draw pretty things to distract myself from what's causing the vent arts in the first place.

    Especially the latter point.

    So what am I doing to combat that, and the accompanying feelings of hopelessness?

    Two things, mostly. One is working on my mental health and resilience. Times are bad still, but I don't want to let that crush me. The other thing is moving to other creative things to do in the meantime - I've taken up crocheting, darning and other mending techniques, and painting. To keep my hands occupied, and have something to show by the end of the day, something tangible, a proof of my tiny existence in that miniscule time frame that I'm around for.

    Because things will get better again.
    They always do.

  20. I come here every few years just to see what happened. It is like returning to a hometown that never existed, and all the people were fictional characters you made up as imaginary friends, and only a few straggling ghosts roam the grounds as though nothing changed.

    I post this just to see if the ghosts can hear. The sensation of wandering in here ever since 2013, when I left the staff, has been haunting.

  21. almost 16 years since I joined this site as a kid. it was a major part of my life for so long. to say that my time and the people I met here was instrumental to my development would be an understatement.

    so many friendships came and went, even a relationship started and ended here, and the drama - so much drama. all the arguments, bullying right-wing bigots, carving out an identity and (infamous) reputation through so many different phases and identity crises. Laughin'Man, Scythey, Ryuujin, Serein, Heck - I changed so much from the time I started here till I faded away that it feels like I was five different people, and there's a little bit of every one that's made me who I am today.

    shout out to the 3 people who might see this and think, "hey, I remember him". and to the handful of people who joined after I left who are reading this and thinking "who's this weird old guy?" just remember when you're pushing 30 the people, places, and things that got you there.

  22. hey everybody! I decided to visit bzp last night and was really happy to see a lot of familiar usernames. I joined here back when I was only 15 years old... I'm nearly 30 now, and looking at my post history on this account it looks like I haven't regularly posted here since bionicle gen 2 was coming out. I think the best part of checking around sites I used to frequent is seeing the familiar users getting into careers they enjoy, getting really into a new hobby, or otherwise just doing new things in life.

    So here's my question for everybody, whether you've been here a long time or not. What have you been up to since Bionicle ended? 

    As for me, I became a game developer. Not my full time gig yet, I'm working as a cook full time now too. Back during my teenage bzpower days, I always thought I would be a visual artist or novelist, but nowadays I'm way more into game dev and producing music. I can't link my project since it's fairly M-rated, but I have one game on Steam! My goal right now is to make a lot of little arcade projects in my signature garish grossout style.

    Anyway, this is me procrastinating. I should be programming right now, lol. Let me know what you've been up to! See you all around! ❤️

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