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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

  2. Any coffee aficionados here? Lately I've been drinking coffee in lieu of energy drinks, and I'm looking for different types to try. I'm not really into anything bitter, but I'm also trying not to use too much creamer or anything lol.

    Also, sometimes my dog rolls onto his back while he's laying in his bed, and I got this hilarious picture


    He just sat like that for about thirty seconds lol. He's whacked out

    Can you believe tomorrow is March?? Goodbye winter avatars and banners... ;-;

  3. I don't know how anyone would know this, but I adore and collect stuffed animals and have for as long as I can remember.

    Stuffed Animal Collection 1

    Might as well start with the OGs.  Left-to-right: Gram Paul "Uncle Grandpa" Penguin, everyone's favorite old man who's gotten up in years and now needs a wheelchair.   His son Fat Penguin (named long ago in a different time and place) who's probably the favorite animal I own.  He's got a wife and five kids, but we don't need to talk about them right now.  Glacier the walking ticking time bomb who likes to throw is little brother.  Said little brother Iceberg who's a kleptomaniac and who only has one foot, but everyone swears he lost before his brother threw him.  And finally their Italian cousin Gelato who's catchphrase is, "You guys are mean!"  He gets to say it a lot around this lot.

    Stuffed Animal Collection 2

    A small sample of all my bears, the largest species in my collection.  Rapid fire family left-to-right:

    Germania Kirk: got his name from when me and my sister played "Star Trek", but afterwards we couldn't stop calling him Kirk.  Is a preacher and married to...

    Maple: The Canadian bear.

    Dimples: their son who was the first bear baby in the world and is now a doctor.  Everyone used to call him baby boy because he was the first.

    Erin Erwin: the Irish ice cream man.

    Millennium: Erin's wife and the undisputed best chef in the land.

    Nikki: their daughter and now married to Dimples, hence...

    Baby Boy: Dimples and Nikki's son who has his dad's old nickname.  His catchphrase is "Ta da", which he is also sometimes called.

    Not shown are the two Erwin family boys, Cuddly and Winnie.  They moved away awhile ago and are living their best single life with their friend Curly.

    Spangle and Brittany: I think I forgot their last name.  Spangle used to be a superhero (Spangle Boy!), but now I think he just sits in his pajamas all day.

    Caramel: their third kid and former cheerleader.  Somehow fell in life with...

    Sweeter: a gingerbread man and baker who can never match Millennium.

    Lindy "Lucky Lindy": their daughter who's actually a clone of her mother because you know bears and cookies can't.  Anyway, she's a bit of a trouble maker.

    Stuffed Animal Collection 3

    For whatever reason, most of my and my sisters' stuffed animal collections consisted of bears and penguin to the point that are few other animals were given the kind of offensive term "nonie" (NON-ee).  Either way, the nonies' lot has improved over the years and Punxsutawney Phil has been the mayor for eight years or more.  His chief advisor is his cousin Phil (the one without the hat) and together they wisely govern the town's treasury (the chests).  The big monkey is their bodyguard Lazlo Khan and his little monkey son Bongo.  The hedgehog is Lothario (that means "the lover") advisor/jester.  The green thing is a recent gift from my sister that I don't know what to do with so I let him hang in the executive suite. 
    Also, Meltdown isn't there to hold the flag for them or anything he's just also on my desk and photobombed them.

    Stuffed Animal Collection 4

    More recent additions now that I love referencing things.  Left-to-right (back row), Pabu the red panda, Greywind the dire wolf, Bosco the black bear, Gojira the spinosaurus, and 51 the alien.  (Front row) Bruce the shark, Lottie the axolotl and her son Verde. 

    I've just realized that my love for writing might have started with the stories and backgrounds I created around all these animals.  Either way, this is a small sample of my collection, I probably have a hundred more, but what I really want to do is create some kind of archive of all of them with their names and histories to make sure I'll never forget.  Will I find time?  No idea, but this is a start I guess.



  4. 53529712370_b619e7de33.jpg

    As the cold curses the land
    She persists

    For every winter that comes

    There is a spring that follows

    No chill has taken her

    None will

    For she is evergreen

    More on Insta

  5. I will post a full review when I've finished the book, but so far, HFSM #5 is, intentionally or not, the funniest piece of HF media. One of the villains is punished because, in upside-down "evil is good" world, not robbing a bank when you have the chance to is a crime. The logical implications of this universe just make me laugh. The villain (I think it was Toxic Reapa) make it sound like an inconvenience, because he already robbed that bank twice that week and was tired.

    I'm not going to defend the Rise of the Rookies TV episodes as anything great, but Von Nebula had some gravitas to him. There's zero implication that, if he wins, the galaxy will turn into this Pythonesque bureaucratic state. It recasts a lot of Von Nebula's previous characterization to make him, if we take this premise seriously, ridiculously immature. Von Nebula doesn't really hate Stormer or anything, he hates an extremely abstract, watered-down idea of "heroism." It's funny to imagine how this universe function, like why banks even exist if robbing them is legally mandated.

    That being said, it's not a bad book. I was tempted to write, "Greg isn't even trying at this point," but that's not true. Some parts of the book, like describing Von Nebula's black-hole-corrupted body, are genuinely good and right up there with peak BIONICLE. It's more like, Greg is having fun. I feel like it was an open secret that HF wasn't going to be on shelves much longer, so no one was giving Greg much oversight on the Secret Mission books so Greg just pushed the envelope to see what Denmark would let him get away with. Stuff like this makes me wish the Secret Mission series did continue, just to see how surreal it would have gotten.

  6. Akaku: Master of Flight
    Latest Entry

    Slinky through this linky on over to the comics forum to have a peak!

    More to come maybe? Possibly? Who knows! The inner machinations of my mind are an engima. If I do continue it, I'm thinking of maybe having permanent guest stars positions, just for ol' times sake.


    --Akaku: Master of Flight

  7. Canama
    Latest Entry

    I just got accepted into graduate school. My dream program. I feel excited, and I also feel guilty for feeling excited because I'm also still mourning. None of this makes sense.

  8. Welp, time to reflect publicly on BZP. I always like doing that. This year, I'll be trying something a little different and I'll actually be typing this up while reading my private thoughts from my journal I wrote throughout the year.

    Starting with something that was a theme throughout the whole year: In December of 2022, as part of a musical Secret Santa exchange, I received the song Where Are You Now by Danny L. Harle. From there, I listened to the rest of the Harlecore album, and then discovered the whole musical world revolving around the PC Music label/collective. I realized I already recognized a lot of the names from the 100 gecs remix album. This really is my kind of music. I found so many songs I loved, but one artist stood out from among the rest: GFOTY. She's quickly become one of my all time favorites and over the course of the year, I've listened to her entire discography. Unfortunately, PC Music announced that they're ending new releases on the label with the end of the year, so I'm listening to some of their stuff on the last day, even as I write this. It was a great ride, even if I only caught the tail end of it. Oh, and going back to the gecs, seeing them live was the other big musical moment for me this year. Their new album was great too.

    As I mentioned in my last entry, I finished college, moved out on my own, and got a job. I feel a lot more independent now. With that, I've been doing a lot more cleaning and organizing this year for a variety of reasons. I've also had more time for my hobbies though, getting a lot more lego building done and integrating myself into a local lug.

    I got dental implants put in at the beginning of the year. Something I had forgotten about was that this prevented me from eating my favorite food for a month. I'm actually just now getting scheduled to have the crowns put on the implants. I'm honestly tired of all this stuff going on with my teeth. I'm so ready to be done with it.

    Something I'm noticing is I was able to become much more social and confident over the course of the year. I even went out on a few dates! Nothing that led anywhere serious, but I'm very proud myself for handling it in a way that felt very natural. Ironically, I'm also much more comfortable being alone now than when I was in college. I think there's something about being surrounded by people that actually makes you feel more lonely sometimes.

    I've started playing more seriously in @Voltex's BZPGOT games this year. I've only recently started getting caught up on all the previous story there, but before I started that, I decided to read/reread all canon Bionicle story material. This, combined, with another event I'll mention later, means I did a lot more reading than has become normal for me this year. Next year I'm hoping to get caught up on the BZPGOT write ups, maybe read some other Bionicle fanfic ( @Pahrak Model ZX?) , but especially start reading some non-bionicle books aimed at adults haha.

    Brickfair was great as I also mentioned in the last entry!

    There was one thing about Brickfair I didn't mention though. At one point during the con, I got a call from my father. He met up with my cousin. I hadn't seen her in 7 years, and we hadn't been able to spend quality time with each other in even longer. He wouldn't tell me what was going on until I got back and spoke with him in person. It wasn't instantaneous for us to reconnect, but we did it. Both of us were worried the other might have somehow become a completely different person in the interim, but we get along so well. We were able to have phone calls, texts, and finally meet up in person for Thanksgiving. This has made me happier than anything else really, and I think it's been so good for both of us to have the other back in our life. I've always looked up to her, we have a lot of fond memories together, and now we're making new ones. She's someone I feel like I can talk to like no one else, and she always has such interesting things to say.

    So that's obviously not everything, but that's the biggest stuff. Thank you to each of you who have had even some small part in making my year so good! And a happy new year to you all! I know I already have some good things planned for it.

  9. I like how bionicle gets progressively more violent

    2001-bamboo disks

    2002-heavy rocket launchers

    2003-hockey puck

    2004-war crime disks

    2005-war crime spinners

    2006-mag fed mind control guns

    2007-biological weapons and semi auto rocket propelled grenade launchers

    2008-guided rocket launchers and missile racks

    2009-handheld bomb lauchers

    2010-automated killer robots

    the us military wishes they were this crazy

  10. Meant to stop by earlier this month for quick drop-in. I can't believe it's been 20 years since I first found this site. I rarely visit anymore, but I'm still alive and kickin', though I'm more active on other social sites.

    The world has changed and so have I. Within the past decade, I got married and now have a kid.

    So anyway, see you around. I may not visit much, but I haven't forgotten this place.

    (C)1984-2023 Toaraga EAM 

  11. So, i'm not sure what to put here anymore (spoilers: it won't be another movie review) but i may as well talk about some things

    I'm Trans! (She/Her/Hers) It took me a few years to recognize it, but now i feel a lot happier than i used to- I feel like i'm the real me, for the first time in years.

    I had been talking with my friends for a while and they helped me realize who i am, and i couldn't have done it without them.

    i do intend to start HRT but the UK is pretty awful for this kind of thing lol, so i'm most likely gonna be waiting 5 years or so to just join the waiting list.

    Until then, i've been thinking of posting some more things here, getting the use of my BZP account yknow? I have a lot of Mocs i've yet to share with you all (i dare say my skills have improved a bit since i last frequented these boards) and i look forward to interacting with you all once more!


  12. Okay, October Oldish Occasions!  Wow! What an existence this beautiful spiral of life is. I guess this is a hello, life update and hopeful return to this lovely internet homey. Trying to see if easier for me to upload embed IG content instead of resizing.  Which made me weirdly more okay with being more goofy on IG posting with main goal of it being for BZP blogging and likely only seen by around 3 humans, haha. 

    October art first, blobbyblogbog below it!

    The doll obsession did indeed overtake my October!



    on me figuring out embedding.

    So Ugly links..

    So sorry.

    Does anyone know how?

    to please help?

    if it's possible?

    Me as a tree baby. I was eating the dirt from the rosemary tree planter!? And absolutely enjoying it! Baby Me cravings. Sneaking it repeatedly. Guessing that was a missed nutritional deficiency given my genetic glory. 8.5hrs. Small photo size, mechanical pencil, art fixative, watercolor paper. Done on clipboard while battling my broken body. 🤒🫠 Little gift for my mom. 💚

    First attempt at hammering/murdering 😭 flowers for dyed fabric, not yet sure what to do with this, but, yay Pinterest! I staggered outside waaay back in September to get these, thus shattering me. 😆 I haven’t been outside since aside from in and out for a few car rides. (Edit: now going to make flag decor for the dining room/my new little- soon-to-show-cooknook for this!)

    did I already post this here, haha?

    Culinary crafts! Older content. 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. Light and fluffy butter loaves (actually oil because $) that were altered from a Texas Roadhouse 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!

    Random barely conscious to be honest foodprep and bakes for my mom’s meals. Also, a few “flops”-attempts at making recipes my body didn’t reject absolutely. Some were yum but not very pretty! I Apologize for your eyes. 🙈 Bakes on the treat trolley for fieldwork and fire starting family friends. Choc walnut for my mom, made sugarsub/free cheesecake for broken pancreas me! Peanut butter frosted nutter bars + gingersnap brownies for my mom. Weird colorful vegetable dishes everywhere because trying to for-dr document the diet and hopefully figure out what things are helping/making me more sick after years of starving and medical complexity. Figuring out wheelchair cooking wasn’t somthing I expected to be so complex. (This was prior to the past few months of my major kitchen rearranging. The goal was to make it wheelchair accessible with the free barn and basement supplies I could find amid major illness stupor/cooking, eating, then trying to survive symptoms afterwards.😂) *THE MOST IMPORTANT CONTENT HERE: Pic with my adorable tiny baby Alice-in-wonderland“dessert” spoon from the new set my mom ordered upon my dream request. She’s the best ❤️

    When your mom’s work gently demands a family photo and you initially are repelled, then realize it’s a great opportunity for family photos… AKA to let your happy weirdo show (?girl autism? Some day…we shall officially know!?)Life’s too short and sweet for taking oneself too seriously, according to me at least! …Sorry Mom and thanks for going along. 😆🌻 Featuring my mom’s green grandchildren, and all the normalness of our existence. Doll clothes, some of the human clothes, and wreaths concocted by me. Bee costume for another doll longago, yellow bloom circa 2021. Foam sheet Sunshine sign for pretending this thing was by design. I think these were in September or October, my brain is a bit of a shell from being this unwell. Regretting not going fully faceless on these because I prefer hiding behind my alien children 💚😂.


    (Wrote it bit ago/old info, but actually wore this for the 3rd total time today for a dr apt!) Wish I’d gone faceless- oh well, still surviving and smiling is a celebration!? Saltwater Taffy Striped Sweater! Which prompted plush phamily photos, of course! 😆 💕My mom’s weave work! Indescribable gratitude💕She just finished it, started the knit in spring 2022 for me! Shocking it fits, I’ve lost 30lbs since due to severe sickness. (Hoping such photos won’t highlight my facial skinniness🫣. if I’m honest I was fighting my own body for 4hrs on the floor after food ingestion on the day I photographed this. Typically it’s only a daily two hour post meal mess, now thankfully (desperate experimentation with my already owned Medication ). Trusting there is some higher purpose to this) Skirts and rose headband made by me prior, fur vest was a gift, glasses are just blue shades. Ballet shoes from a brief period of life when I was pre-diagnosed and tried excitedly to live, walk and move normally. Great for wheelchair use since not much need for sturdy shoes 😂. Shasta (boy baby Yoda)’s jacket selfdrafted & made by me for 18” dolls long ago, his deer sweater knit by my mom for another plush, and his tiny pseudo hat a random crochet by me. His corduroy shirt is actually a little sack bag, a gift from my mom’s coworker! Luna (girl baby Yoda)’s ballet inspired outfit is more 18” outfit stuff I made long ago. Grateful for unexpected fit!Mum (more than just a bear)’s styling my babyhood burgundy #winniethepooh dress, my childhood necklace + turtle bracelet + a ballet “bun cover” bought longago but taken for doll hats instead. Mum’s cape is actually a ballet skirt by me. #Toadstool stool a repaint by me. My new pink room has made me incredibly happy..even if I barely go up there due to being an ambulatory user of my wheelchair! PS I really wanted to make red dino & fancy ballerina costumes for my children to go with this, but don’t want to waste my tiny bit of energy on stuff for me. Update; Have worn outfit 1 total times when flung from my fungi forest for physical sig’ needs for social security. Hard to justify the “fancy” of it when 1 messy and forgetful homehobbit!

    Candy corn caricatures of my mom and I from the glory of random craft trash, discount Go Grocery Avocado hot sauce bottles,their random black bags as a backdrop, and electric tape eyes. Salt lamp gift from family friends 🧡 The heights are accurate when I’m wheeling, haha.

    My magnificent mom went along with morning-baked cookie delivery for friends and family. I tried to ride along for delivery, an almost unheard of thing for me to leave the mushroom kingdom at all , but nobody was home and I physically crashed too soon. My mom made the many treat taxi trips the next noon for me, for I can never repay she!

    @SPIRIT!!! May I tag to thank you overexcitedly with many virtual dance-a-happy? If not wanting to be involved in my weirdness I'll remove this! Thank you again for your genius! Every few-and-far-between human who enters the home sees it first thing and happiness it brings! EDIT:added the most important pic with their paper thank u sign sorry it’s shadowy/sunny bleached a bit hahahaIMG_9138.jpeg.5033f99f45f054a6d77b8a1cfd5a6fe0.jpeg


    The Woodermelon! Brilliantly named by a kind internet citizen upon viewing the original nameless creation. Many thanks to them and I must soon share with them. It has a baby now too thanks to more tree cutting, haha! My mom also finally finished putting buttons on the back of Baby Yoda’s sweater she made also two years ago! 




    Already posted on BZP but oh well, IG transfers! Small kitten of a forum friend! Thanks for allowing sharing! 5x7 from July 2023. I have lost so much memory so my own art is now surprising me, haha. 17hrs- was very slow and distracted this time and am so sorry for its resulting scratchiness! Honoring noble Bob. Pencil, mechanical pencil, and art fixative spray.


    Apologies if unwated tagging here-can remove happily if any of ye request!

    Shoutout to BZP bro @Bambifor remembering BZP birthday best wishes while I was barely alive! Thanks again! Coda (Anatolian Shepherd) 8x10” finished in September. 17.5hrs (mid medical episode art so snailstyle 😂). Pencil, mech’ pencil on watercolor paper. Thanks bunches to @otterfor allowing sharing (and for not minding lack of permission to pencil the pretty pet!).

    (I am trying very hard to remember which of these drawings I’ve already posted, so sorry I’m repeat posting from the edit-illnes-rabbit hole haha. Also for accidental screenshot in swipes. 🙈) “Graphite bites!” Things from my mind while fighting body for dear life -because clipboard power haha (and questioning my power to finish anything in such hours) 3x3 watercolor + mechanical pencil drawing. 5hrs. Birthday (fancy pilot?) cat for my bro shipped off in a before-made birthday bonsai box with sausage and squiddies because why not! ❤️ Cannot for the life of me keep up with where he’s living, so shoutout to him for tolerating 20 accidental sends of a creepy questioning GIF. 😂

    “Graphite bites!” Bunny Snow for Mom! 3x3 watercolor + mechanical pencil drawing. 5.5 hrs. Accidentally was eaten by a origami paper and paint-chip turkey for a tiny thanksgiving gift! And finally an opportunity a pop a petite present out too, a prior made Birdy ornament inspired by her on thanks-day morn ❤️And just of me trying to wrap stuff from the trunk of thingies I collect randomly amid struggling at self propelling on a weak wheel day. 😂


    Sorting content in an attempt to awaken from the amnesia of the past six month sick-stupor. Today is a good day, the best since another ER trip a few weeks ago (I have officially lost count of the ER trips I’ve made for new changing different issues over my life haha..and keep all my medical bracelets in a garland chain because in all things there can be beauty 😂)I give thanks {..} and send sunshine your way, sorry for spamming and thanks for tolerating me all 3 of you here. 😂❤️Big little things that made bleak days blessings back in fall ❤️ Our new aunt Jane’s kindness is too vast to explain. Bedding! Girl bedding, that unplanned matched my new room perfectly like all my childhood magazine dreams! (Hi from Mr. Mooseykins..yes that’s what I named him 😂) And her sweet seasonal sewing send overs. And a lilac rose from family friends certainly delighted my alien children! I have a problem with turning everything into hats, but perhaps there’s no harm in that? Oh, and my new NON-prescription mobility aid from mom’s store for when I journey to the top of the stairs on occasions rare! Tiny lantern to avoid insomniac wheelchair crashes haha. And my dream -doll size spoons that I daily use (?autism thing?)! Thanks to mom supporting splendid strangeness of my highly specific dream request. And ER fun in October. Those bed poles will forever be lowly worm.


    So missed it here since a lifetime ago in September!

    When somehow my everyday existence became a blur as I survived full blown falling into a rabbit hole without medical care (yet tons of prestigious doctors at Duke-who abandoned my case, ignored every near death plea for advice, said go to an ER-where the Mission hospital ER would discharge me, EDIT FEB 20 I just Google that place and found this hahaha (:https://wlos.com/news/local/mission-hospital-ncdhhs-report-details-patient-deaths-injuries-delays-care-asheville-health-centers-medicare-medicaid-immediate-jeopardy) still paralyzed and look at my limp body like I was lazy/wasting their resources and send a 7,000 bill that my cashier mom would try to pay ) and tried to retain consciousness in ER situations on a daily basis. Looking back at these months, it’s a miracle I’m alive. And my mom hasn’t absolutely lost her mind witnessing this. To be honest, I didn’t think I’d make it to 2024, I don’t think anyone did. I basically had accepted after the Jan 15 2023 stroke that I was unofficially on Hospice stuck on our couch and trying to make the best of it. In July I was tired of this, years of starving yet surviving due to my complex sickness. I decided to eat. Instead of controlling my symptoms by starving and waiting on Dulke diagnostic aid. I underestimated how severe the results of this would be, and am pretty amazed by the years of function prior achieved by miserable starving to control my diseases.  

    Not that getting in like 400-600 calories a day was much more than starving. Along with the daily 4hrs of fluid loss, writhing, hyperglycemia and that stranded me in a certain room that began to feel like a prison cell exactly 1hr after I dared bite into some delicious broth, vegetables, meat-or anything. 

    I was chugging two 2 liter bottles of electrolytes within an hour on the floor writhing…while my glucose was over 200 on no carbs while the fluid loss, LUQ pain, face flushing, etc raged. Every single day. An hour after eating, precisely-waiting to pounce on me. Clipboard art and crafts to cope while turning on The Frey Life videos on a shattered phone via YT. Wondering how other people live. Realizing how horrifying my own quality of life has been for years. Hoping to gain some insight on how human beings in a safe home life/environment on a daily basis live. What it even means to have a family support system. 

    There is a lot I don’t remember. There was a lot of lying on the floor, feeling possessed by some raging pain monster. Lots of being so weak I was barely managing to propel my wheelchair home alone. But not like anyone was there to help-my mom had to work or we’d both starve without having any social/family/medical support aid.


    In like, September, on a week so weak I was wondering if it was my last,  I rolled to the med drawer and grabbed my discontinued use Plaquenil for my UCTD, Undifferentiated connective tissue disease. 

    I started taking x4 the dose, 800mg. Have you ever been desperate to live? The daily GI fluid loss was cut to 2hrs daily instead of 4. My glucose wasn’t as bad. I told my good Duke rheumatologist and since then I've been prescribed 400 mg daily. The few  pubmed articles  I glanced at later support my positive experience with trying this- if I do have some form of endocrinology/cancer disease. 


    The horrors persisted, but more manageably. In October I got very excited and blasted Christmas music, decided to undertake doing a “real Christmas” this year in our new 101yr old family home! Because 2023 was the year of “home/life setup/seasonal decor totes/wow, normal moms have these things but mine never could”. So I started planning the holiday decor designs and working away on turning our old ornaments and junk in our Christmas trunk into things matching and new. I did a lot of ornament painting via the bathroom floor, (I have zero personal pride at admitting this, it kept me alive in such hours while unable to get ongoing medical care). . 

    My mom was trying to get me applied for Medicaid whilst the free-till won disability/SSI lawyer was still trying to prove I was incapable of surviving myself and needed SSI probably forever given Ehlers Danlos alone. My mom first applied me in mid 2022. My insurance ran out in January 2024 and my mom likely couldn’t afford to add me on hers at work. So we waited. I’ve been on Duke full financial aid for years, but also parent insurance deductible payment stuff and ER bills on them/now just Mom.


    Mom-She finally got legally divorced in October ‘23, so grateful. What a wreck.  Exdad still won’t sign over the retirement bit, or her mom’s inheritance car to her so it’s a nice lawn ornament, haha. The car on which he canceled the insurance on in late July-stopping us from driving legally, forcing her to buy a new old car,  stopping my mom from renewing its insurance it not having the title of it,  & stopping getting med help for me for the new daily ER fluid loss emergency. He didn’t know this stranded me into a life threatening crisis. He didn’t/doesn’t know this. I shudder at the scales of justice, so thankful to have survived it. So strange to me that someone like him would be sent a disabled child-He so often cruelly said to people “Did your parents have any kids who survived to adulthood? Bet they regret that!”...I have somehow, thankfully been one such personage surviving so far to this age, in spite of every arrow aimed at me. And found out in such situations there are endless ways to be personally happy-It’s an inside job! . I’m not even surprised any of this was done. Weird how you can see so much sadness it becomes easy not to even react.Anyway, sorry, hope it doesn’t sound angry- I’m not,  just the unfortunate events in a chronologically current recording.

    Takin' a drive, I was an ideal

    Looked so alive, turns out I'm not real

    Just something you paid for

    What was I made for?

     Some day those legal papers will come, perhaps, but tisn’t exactly pressing. Each time anything moved on the legal stuff it was a backwards breakdown stress spiral for my mom. I am grateful to say these horrors are now over, and things are much better!  Now we can happily go on living, as if certain people in life don’t exist, without being every sec’ reminded of it, each conversation being about it,  and go on enjoying that things are at last settled, safe and right. (EDIT: MID FEB ‘24: Car paperwork at last acquired, mom sold the sabotaged lawn ornament at last! Insurmountable gratitude!)

    Medically, nothing was changing except one day I got super hungry, ate a lot of walnuts instead of the just like 500 cal daily meal that nearly killed me. My throat closed and the extra bad face flushing again. The Epi-triggered and resistant “anaphylaxis” again. The whole suspect Carcinoid Crisis again. Since 2020 that ugly thing. ER at Mission hospital, 6 am. Oct 16th. I made medical info cards a week prior because I’m tired of trying to explain my diagnoses. This thing is effective (RIP privacy when sickness shreds the remaining “dignity”. I now have 3 laminated and take to appts. the dysautonomia diagnosis new since September tilt table test. ). . I told my mom to ask for Octreotide. My mom mistakenly thought my allergist had suggested this, told them so . He did not. This was my own research. I could barely breathe much less tell them this. They gave octreotide and my airways opened up. I went home. Allergist appt to rerun allergen labs to be sure, like 1 lab order from my annoyed primary care doctor for the fluid loss. Still not allergy or high Tryptase.


    So my good allergist (guy who found my tick bite Alpha Gal allergy saving my life so long ago), was like “yeah, still looks like carcinoid/a net tumor, especially given this, smart move on the Octreotide!” haha.  So I contacted him later and my good rheumatologist for Duke and UNC GI cancer and new repeat endocrinology referrals for carcinoid/NET tumor/Possible diabetic condition. And UNC approved my mom’s full financial aid application for me! So since I’ve waiting on those to get scheduled some day, a new GI doctor appt at Duke in April (I had to fire the one Duke  GI lady who left me to pretty much die after years of telling me it was surely Celiac disease and “just one more EGD, enteroscopy, etc”.) 

    I still had a useless Duke primary care dr 3hrs away, but we were unsure who to use here given the digital Mychart records needing to be accessible and making sure Medicaid would cover if I was approved. So I waited. 

    My high glucose raged during all this, I’d eat carrots or peas and it would go over 180. Tiny amounts of carbs sending me over 220 and half conscious symptomatically. I tried so many different foods, tried breaking it into two tiny meals to see if the GI got less angry, but nothing. So broth, protein, vegetables, and stevia seasoning became the mainstays while the glucose, face flushing, hyper thirsty, and GI episodes continued to rage on starving level calories. (Like 600 calories daily, robbed of yummy things). Meanwhile my frightening since-September 80-82lb weight just maintained. I’m 5’4”. Prisoner of war aesthetic going on there. Oh well. Alive!

    Thanksgiving!a brief bit about it, i’ll blog content beyond October later, just a general update trying to grasp the spiral of this! I’d barely finished most of the decorations for the day , got to wear the vintage granny clothes I adore from my new 80+ yr old mom’s aunt (weirdness of mom being adopted) and it was wonderful with my mom off-day. We watched livestreams from ActionKid of the Macy’s Parade while eating POPCORN in our new popper & putting up the new upcycled decor by me (later to be blogged). We had such good times. One of the best thanksgivings I remember. Actively FB messenger spamming my brother. Every holiday prior was just the 4 of us and major medically-dietarily restricted/we just didn’t do anything.  Also, prior, my ex dad hated the traditions, seeing his family at holidays, birthdays etc.  and my mom had none aside from her peculiar puppy mill owner estranged mother and prison brother. 

    So getting to celebrate “real family holidays”  in a gloriously nontoxic home environment is not something we’ve really experienced (except for my mom, as a child) before. It was a dream. I finally don’t feel unsafe 24/7! Near heaven! The 2022 thanksgiving prior I tried to pull out our old Xmas decorations but just cried instead over the shambles of our lives. 2023 thanksgiving was a DREAM. We are actually very much recovering and learning to live. If we’re all still around next year, I think it may be ever better! 

    I decided to make a traditional thanksgiving dinner, immediately freezing some dishes for Christmas. Decided to eat tons of whatever and everything I wanted that day, even if I went into a coma. That went SO badly hahaha. I took extra plaquenil. No regrets. Totally threw up. Eating is torture but so worth it.Would do again. I felt so alive, it’s so nice to eat with other people. I had no idea how poor not being able to eat together makes the  “quality of life”. Wrote a disturbing song in the stupor that followed that I’ll later repost, hahaha.

    And then after that Twas all out Xmas mode-still…Making some rushed decor, decorating the new old hold for the first time, trying to color theme each room!, lots and lots of cooking and baking! Pinterest recipe bliss! Planning excitedly for my brother to visit after not being able to for a year. The first time the home wasn’t even fully renovated and we didn’t do much of anything, decor or food wise. This meant unplanned renovations and rearranging of the kitchen to be more disabled/wheelchair friendly to reduce my suffering,haha. 

    The “Cook Nook” was evolving- my cozy cottage closet wheelchair workspace! Such kitchen shuffling. Still a work in progress. (EDIT FEB ‘24..Done!)My mom getting me an instant pot has massively helped me given my inability historically and now especially to stand long at the stovetop. Need to take updated pics and add to this.  Also, I am relearning how to cook via food scale using mostly metric, for ease, fewer dishes, and nutrition calculations. Thanks to King Arthur Flour recipes for encouraging this. I am relearning how to calculate the servings/nutrition on my own recipes and all recipes once again (one day I won’t have to Google nutrition on 3oz raw “x” every time). I did this from 2017-2020 (post severe food allergies + ingredient label checking drama, PICU, hospital) as per my illness and appetite never existed,  and I was scared I’d accidentally lose weight and almost die again. Then in 2020 I just became major sicker, unable to eat enough for a normal creature to live, started gaining weight, then the celiac train wreck began. So all this nutrition content stuff is major Deja Vu. 

    Sometime in December? We found out I got approved for Medicaid , and now it appears to be because the US government has officially accepted that I am disabled/useless in working society. I am so grateful and honestly cannot believe it. It seems like I may not have to show up in virtual SSI court in March now for the disability lawyer to “prove I’m disabled” from showing my medical records that the government already has. (EDIT FEB ‘24: Virtual court date is a day after my b-day, perhaps I can control symptoms enough to eat cheesecake & take sickness a day prior if I completely dehydrate, haha? Yolo or no? )

    So in December the try for local primary ensued. My mom is doing all the paper and scheduling work as usual (cannot Adult). I went to one nice doctor on December 7, broke down crying weirdly over my situation (normally numb to the chronic near death experiences). She was amazing, but couldn’t accept me-I needed an internal Med-Ped doctor to “accept my case” as I was “too medically complex”.  Mom’s Hunt ensued, I got an appt. in the UNC based local system that linked with mychart & their better ER 30 mins away. 

    I went to their ER for labs/my chronic emergency level fluid loss and malnutrition on Dec 13, like: “hi I have no primary care yet please help.” 

    That was useful, hadn’t had labs since September. They’re all rough as one would expect, but I’m managing to keep my electrolytes acceptable with salt cravings, bullion and lemon water. 

    Basically: The internal primary care appt. Finally came! It was, to my horror- a male doctor. I vowed to never have another given a few terrible experiences with them due to my age, gender and being underweight (as if I chose this nightmare-then I blame myself for it,  though it’s not something I can control/fix.). which had been up a full day prior so was very out of it. The ER  labs were useful for them, too. The intern doctor had an intern too, who was very nice and shockingly interested in my load of recent medical notes and since July daily recording diary of my food fluid, med and intake and vitals timebook. The book I made out of desperation trying to figure this out or find someone who could. Shockingly, they gave good advice and accepted my case!  They understood Ehlers-Danlos, amazingly. They asked what I wanted to start on, I begged for help on eating and drinking. He said the human body can process ~20g protein per two hours for muscle building/retaining, and with my weight & intake tolerance being so low I definitely had muscle wasting (I, who only ate 4 slices broth and bread daily-for over two years while desperately waiting on Duke GI doctors to figure out this wasn’t celiac and why food made me so sick). Apparently ill & old people die from bowel necrosis due to muscle wasting in situations like mine. No other doctor ever mentioned lacking protein or muscle wasting making everything worse. Duke doctors gave no aid aside from “I can send you to a dietician if you’d like it”-as if generic advice would aid the unmanageable food reactions. Also, male Dr was awesome not a nightmare. AWESOME. He saw my real actual email which literally contains Sarasbabyducks given my past pets, and he saw that& was like EPIC I RAISED RUNNERS, what breed did you have? Beautiful carcincle Muscovy, Ancona and Pekin were so loved by wee me. Given struggling to verbally communicate my mom also 2nd visit was like “we think she’s autistic- and my doctor IS FORMALLY DIAGNOSED and told me this!? I also found his IG sand apparently is into alternate herbal things & didn’t roast us for desparate experimenting!

    The new doctors don’t know why my glucose is crazy high, and said I was allowed to try carbs with the high protein and see what happens/monitor it.They also bumped the UNC endocrinologist referral up for Carcinoid/NET tumor/possible atypical diabetes and scheduled a six week later progress check-this is unheard of in my life to have ongoing medical follow up, help, or doctors who genuinely care if I live or die. I am so grateful. 

    I also got clearance on my plan to eat YUMMY HOLIDAY FOODs during Christmas week when my bro came and not monitor vitals/anything!  So prior to bro visit,  I embarked (cautiously so Christmas plans wouldn’t be ruined by me being sicker) eating at least 20g x3 daily and increasing my foods/trying some fruits/vegetables I normally get hyperglycemic from.  Shockingly my glucose and GI episodes improved some. It’s so hard initially to learn how much protein’s in what. Then Christmas! The so longed for first real family Christmas in the new old home, fully renovated! Bro came a day later than hoped (traffic), but made it on Xmas eve night! I’ll later blog of it! On Xmas week I tried to eat all the yummy foods unrecorded, mostly! It was a delicious disaster haha. Been Still recording glucose x3 daily, but thankfully not fluids or blood pressure now. That was tons of exhausting work, especially when barely functioning already. Getting back to the protein!...

    This concludes the illness fog written content mostly from goodness knows when! Free to frolic on to editing the somewhat later project photos as a hopeful attempt to reawaken my brain from months of hours-daily medical meltdown endurance without local care access. Grateful to be in this beautiful world, for my mom, Medicaid approval, new Internal Med doctors, and the few pretend friends who perhaps, for some reason, are kind enough to read the ramblings of a happy hermit, sick lunatic. 

    This is where I stopped writing, haha. 

    Current tiny update February ‘24, I’ll fill in gaps later if I get the chance!: Jan. 2 I started some alternative herbs and medications my mom had been considering, given doctors not helping and time running out .Things supported by scientific papers and research, a hopeful cure if carcinoid tumor/pancreatic cancer. 3 herbal pills and 2 fluid meds. My glucose at least is starting to markedly stabilize (FEB update)! Supposing it’s the combined CBD, my DIY-not-to-die plaquenil, tumeric and berberine along with the other high powered liquid thing? The hours of horror fluid loss GI wise are harder to survive as I’m trying to eat more-some days I got in 1000 calories-a miracle for me.  I was in the new awesome UNC ER again Jan 13? after eating in a restaurant for the first time in 6 years-a glorious event for me to leave the home at all! For a funeral of my honorary granny. Backed up to my ribs despite chronic fluid loss-surprising and why it’s like glass shards in ribs when eating or drinking often. I’ve been out of it since and barely able to eat given my GI being badly broken, now require a new old people med device to somewhat more safely stay home alone, but now, mid Feb, feel like I’m coming out of the fog. No regrets, the restaurant was delicious! And now I’ve local GI care from UNC helping & as I write this current bit I’m leaving for my first combined colonoscopy & EGD done simultaneously later today. 6? EDG & enteroscopies and one colonoscopy at Duke from 2021-23. Issues found but no helping. Hoping they aren’t scared to fully sedate me here, haha. That only other 2022 Duke colonoscopy..Then the guy just blamed me for being too skinny, and was unable to find anything structurally, not being able to complete the procedure fully. I was half conscious and in pain screaming, when supposed to be all out anesthesia’d. Extra fentanyl this fine day of February, please! Also weirdly, my parent's equitabled distribution disaster was precisely 1 year ago today-When DVPO exdad dumped all my old & future medical bills on my former homeschool medical mom & attempted to take everything, almost suceeding after we were forced to flee homeless in 2022 to survive him. No support financially, what is mythical alimony and good lawyers? My mom having horrible mental breakdowns. Why exdad. I almost wheeled then walked out into traffic after this, no one in my life has ever made me feel more worthless and like a burden for breathing the air. How can one cope with being a burden to their own mother? This was post Jan 2023 no-med care post stroke when I could barely move, drink, swallow, eat or talk. Home alone surviving on the couch with a pencil in my hand giving me the will to try to “live to give, live to love” in little ways-if nothing more on earth I could say for.

    Turns out I'm not real

    Just something you paid for

    What was I made for?

    But somehow, we stuck together and smiled after the storm. So grateful she got her mother's ex-puppymill and land, a little lumpsum, and we have blessed freedom!

    Anyway, tis all my bitty remaining brain cell can summon at the moment! Life is honestly improving so rapidly this year it’s dizzying! Being able to even blog a bit (even if a bit off-balance) is proof of this! local good drs, hope to survive/cure the one thing, getting to often enjoy family meals with my mom-never allowed historically ( medical and family toxicity situations), finally finishing the few leftover home renovations, the first year she’s fully divorced finally and mostly financially in an area of safety! I’ve dubbed it the year of (my mom’s) Julie’s Jubilee with laughable glee! And I’ve given the home and acres around it a loving dub of “Misfit Meadows” I am indeed making a sign for our front room, haha! So weird to be allowed to be in a home so happy!

    I absolutely apologize/will edit if it’s not allowed to be so real here,  or if this content isn’t BZP friendly. And for photo embed fail pleasehelp? I have no perspective on what it's like to live as an ordinary person or how rules apply here. ‘Appy impaired unaware alien here. Virtual hugs to all, tis all! Missed blogging in the BZP beauty where I can be a misfit with so few openly judging me for the fairytale ramblings, thanks to all thee! 

    "Think I forgot how to be happy...

    ..something I can be!"


  13. 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 💙💗🤍💗💙

  14. 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!

  15. Congrats to Mushy The Mushroom!


    Please feel free to suggest colors!

    I myself will suggest Lime Green on Navy Blue.

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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!

  19. 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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    [No more monthly "updates" for now. Next time you hear from me it's go time.]

    17; 18; 1



  20. 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.



  21.  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!




  22. 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. 🤨

  23. 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.

  24. 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.

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