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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.
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
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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.
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…Salutations, sitefolk! Below is an essentially unedited (aside from forgotten fobs and photographs) Saturday write that was delayed due to a hectic hospital health fright the same night. I beg pardon for this whole nonsensical note. Numb, mumbling meager sentences, but I am mostly the master of my own muscles once more! Beyond brilliant to be back!
(Also I forgot How To Blog and realized these images may be offensively oversized? I ordinarily email them to myself to auto-resize, my brain is fried. And I assembled it in Docs and plopped it over here..Will fix it if it is problematic!
I absolutely should not be online in this condition and am struggling to speak in full sentences .)
A cautionary cue:
The following content contains more than traces of cognitive impairment. And cortisol. I relate to Oxley from Indiana Jones, incoherently rambling over his wall drawings with the utmost deranged zeal at this point. I must apologize for your eyes.
Some pencil drawings….that I’m not particularly proud of. Out-of-practice and trying to relearn/draw during weird new weakness episodes. Wheelchairs are wonderful, as is being able to use mine on these floors now, basically bedridden without it now.
Owl as my brother’s gift. Started doing 8x10’s (my scanner is small) and sealing them with Art fixatif pre-scan.
And my brother (as a baby) for my mother’s gift! 3x5”?/standard small print photo size
And my mother, I never thought to draw her before! 8x10”
At Duke Chapel during a doctor day. Living locally we’d never been, but I guess moving made it more of an event?
Little bun’ for fun. 4x6”.
Thank you cards too!
This one was for a salt-block rock lamp starring itself in felt because… uncreative!
And hook-handle bags, a refresher in cotton construction.
When the mind finds a fish out of fabric.
Oh, and small squiddy embroidery decor for my bro. Absolute spontaneity, as the stitching may reveal to thee!
A glow and a gleam of seams, gold threads fit for a dainty dryad!
A bare-bones with a bear stop motion attempt. No interesting bits but a vivacious brain vacation.
Feathers of fur, a wee winter outfit for her.
But perhaps if the season does lapse, immortalized ice queen to dance in a dream. Not nearly so nightly as the Narnian nightmare, I daresay.
Harp and harmonious hums so heavenly.
A little locket, my people in a pocket! I longed for one but never out loud. Lo and behold, an acquaintance of my mother bestowed this trinket gold.
Balloon snowballs, fur for wings and flooring from an old dancing Santa decoration’s coat.
Blanket stitch bead border, braided embroidery threads straps.
Gold lame from my mom's prom dress, that became my random gut-and-patch-together dress (Long ago! I added about 3” length from another scrap to it after this picture. This fabric was an unraveling atrocity hahaha) and I still had some left.
The problem with “fancy” human clothes is never using them because being at home. And home is the dreamland of deconstructing old things, crawl mopping (It’s easier!), delicious messes, and many a graphite demise of a good garment. But the toys are tidy. The idea of pinafores delights me. I hope to try this because why not create one’s own fairytale reality?
Concept art carried upon perhaps the smollest stack of sticky’s. Online ordering and the adorable Alice-in-Wonderlandian accidents!
Lace and ceramic church from my late grandma's basement. A distant cousin's social media post was how I discovered this, as a freak instinct to check Facebook that day swept over me. I'm sorry for them, for me it was not soaking in. My sensible sibling was stalling on calling.
The last time I saw her was in court. The first I was in the wheelchair in her presence. I couldn't speak to her. On some shelf in the back of my mind, I ponder if the family-fall-apart cut short her time. I am grateful to have visited her and that pleasant peachtree place for the last time in 2019. The distance, health deterioration, long hospitalization and high risk of food allergy shock locked us out of her life. She taught me a lot in spite of it, and I hope to see her again without the weight of the world's burdens.
Then our pug, aged 14 died within the following two weeks, and my ENT surgery crescendo couch ridden comatose was sandwiched in between.
Pug was a parking lot pup my family scooped up, seemingly a holiday-gift stray. With our band of misfits he nicely fit! I don't think the drywall dust was good for his lungs given his trachea issues, but nothing could be done. I didn't have a mask either, but there are so many things one only must do once. Like that not-so-long-ago midnight-thirty mess. My mom came home horrified from work to find me collapsed in a cloud of drywall dust with my electric sander in hand, too weak to stand up. At the base of a six foot ladder with smothered smoke alarms sounding off . Sometimes I just have to laugh at the horror..and sleep on the floor because insufficient energy to shower. But that carpentry chapter is over!
I couldn't cry over the departures though, a perplexing personal paralysis that began years ago. To mechanically throw the bad feelings out the window.
At Thanksgiving I feasted on tears. All of them, all day, somehow triggered by the parade?
Life has been better since, as though reality is balanced. That perfect pendulum inevitably must rise and fall even if it feels like you've lost it all. An avalanche of uplifting events are occurring, but it’s still too rushed. So hard to hush!
In the midst of this, my medical madness has merged into multiple diagnoses. Two years of major tests later, grateful to be getting a grasp.
2022 was a tad like tumbling down the rabbit hole to arrive at a better end. Convalescence in every sense?
2023 has started with a deep and proper happy for me, and I wish the genuine same for any reader who came!
*ignores pile of unedited artthings, drags out old photo of baby ducks instead*
*Imaginary effect of the Maytime Muscovy coos of my cherished children*
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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:
- Boss Monster
- Gloomhaven: Jaws of the Lion
- Red Dragon Inn
Games that didn't quite make the list:
- Ticket to Ride
- 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:
- Settlers of Catan (shameless plug for my Bioniclized Catan)
- 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!
Happy Law Bringer Day! Admittedly, I've never celebrated it before today, but you know every tradition has to start somewhere.
Today marks the six year anniversary of when (after several mouths of brainstorming and nearly three years of not writing any fiction) I started writing the first story in what would become "Law Bringer". I thought about honoring the occasion by posting a teaser or snippet of an actual story, but instead I decided to write about my writing.
Recently, I collected the info below by pouring through my old word documents and obviously this isn't one-hundred percent accurate either because of poor record keeping or stories lost to computer crashes, but it should give you a good idea of my writing output over the years.
Words written per year:
2004-07: less than 1,000 words
2008-10: 14,000 words
2011: 11,000 words
2012-13: 6,000 words
2016-17: 2,200 words
2018-21: 1000 words
I don't know why I started writing I just did, although, I should point out that of the 35,000 words I wrote from 2004-2021 all I have to show for it is:
2 short stories (including a Hero Factory story I posted here)
A lot of flash fiction most of which is either BIONICLE or Hero Factory fan fiction or not very good (or both).
For some reason during this time period my go-to writing format was like the appendices from LOTR even before I knew what those were. No idea why.
Something else I want to mention; I rarely finished most of my work from this time. This is definitely something I've improved this year because now I can actually write a short story from beginning to end. The idea popped into my head to try and finish some of my old stuff, but after actually reading some of it I figure most of it is best left where it is.
This trip down memory lane confirms the narrative I've always assumed that writing was something I did in junior high up to the summer after my freshman year, but in my sophomore year I stopped and no matter how hard I tried or wanted to I just couldn't write fiction again. I kept writing notes and world building, but another piece of prose never came. I cannot explain why.
Bringing this back to "Law Bringer", like I said I wrote the first bits of the story in late 2016 and early 2017, but then the block returned. I spent a long time working on my world building on-and-off until 2019/2020 when I got really serious about it and by this point I really wanted to make an attempt to write again hence my little bits of writing during this time period.
Then last November I started watching videos about writing on Youtube. Before this, everything I knew about writing I learned from BZPower or what writers have said so just random sources. I don't think that's the only thing I needed, but I'm sure it helped and on Christmas Eve of 2021 I began to write and write, then run out of steam in the spring, but picked it back up in May and eventually managed to create some good writing habits.
The long and short of it is this past year I've written 105,000 words resulting in:
22 short stories (18 "Law Bringer" 4 non-"Law Bringer")
A fourth of a novel
Half of a novella
2 pieces of flash fiction (both much better than anything I wrote several years ago)
You know, after writing this out, I think December 24th sounds like a better date for Law Bringer Day, but since no one would celebrate it then because of conflicts with other holidays, I think I'll stick to November 30th.
That's the story I wanted to tell and also why I'm optimistic about the future of my writing and "Law Bringer" and I'm hopeful I'll be able to share more of both with the world soon.
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. 🤨
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I'm about two decades late, but I finally finished my collection of European misprints from 2001.
The values of some of these have really exploded in recent years. Fortunately I got the two Kaukaus, which are absurdly expensive on BrickLink now, when they were more affordable so buying the last few that I was missing wasn't too painful.
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.
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.
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.
Hello everyone. Tahu Returns won the poll! Congrats to the artist!
Due to a tight schedule, the colors have been decided on. We apologize for the inconvenience.
While we’re taking orders on other social media platforms, if you’re going to BrickFair 2022, please place your order here.
The price for this years shirt is $12. Please only place an order if you’re going to BrickFair in person.
You'll have about a week to put your orders in. We hope you enjoy the new BZP shirts!
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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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When you read, your eyes look at symbols that stand for sounds, and those sounds represent concepts. Reading requires both of these events (symbols-to-sounds, and sounds-to-concepts) to take place. It happens so quickly, we can ignore the middleman if we want. Writing systems like Chinese are called logographies as opposed to true alphabets, because Chinese characters don't stand for sounds at all, just concepts. You have to learn as many characters in Chinese as there are ideas. English sometimes works like that. Consider the difference between to, too, and two. In this case, different sets of symbols all produce the same sound. The only option the English-speaker has is to memorize separate what spelling corresponds to each idea.
This is a lot of work, and your brain is doing it all the time. It's doing it right now, in fact. On top of that, you don't remember the symbols you've read for the rest of your life. I'm reading a book right now, and I'm in the middle portion, and I don't recall exactly the symbols it opened with, and I'll remember them even less precisely by the time I reach the end. And yet, the thoughts it made me think remain in my head. I still know what the book is about. It's not as though I've never read it.
Now we introduce a third (potentially fourth) stopping pointing in the act of reading: symbols correspond to ideas (through the byway of sounds), but those ideas in turn correspond to an impression. The impression, most often, remains in the reader's mind long after most, or even all, of the symbols and sounds do not. You cannot recreate the physical, indisputable elements of the book, but you can still say what it was about. How can this be?
This is to say nothing of the nuances that exist even within the individual letters and sounds, and how many things even simple combinations can mean. This has been just a little look at the act of reading, provided to you by the act of reading no less.
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It appears that BZP makes a triumphant return.
So, what have i been doing over the past few days?
Well, i was surprised by the emergence of a new trailer for Kirby And the Forgotten Land, and even more surprised by the release of a 3 level-long demo for the game. The demo shows off new features like "Mouthful Mode", which you either love or hate. (I love it) The game really reminds me of Kirby's Blowout Blast, most likely due to both games having B I G K I R B Y
(Also, both are 3d)
I've also been preparing for another Ye Olde Not-So-Good Film Review.
Uh, wow, that entry was a lot shorter than i thought it'd be. Oh well! See ya later!
On Thursday, I went to the Orthodontist for what I thought was just a routine visit, but to my surprise they started taking some scans of my mouth, telling me it was for my retainer. And at the end of the appointment, I was informed that my braces would be fully removed at the end of the month!
I started laughing with joy when I heard the news. One of the staff told me my laughter was contagious. That has to be one of the best compliments I've ever received.
I've had my braces for almost 3 years now. They've become a part of my life as I've grown over that time. And getting them off reminds me of that, but it also reminds me of how much some things haven't changed.
I've also already made an appointment with some friends to hit up a candy shop that day and get some of the things I've been missing out on for so long!
So let me start my story like any old man with an anecdote that doesn't really go anywhere.
I was trawling through my old blog entries trying to find out when I got Pokemon Diamond. I'm playing Brilliant Diamond and I wanted to see if I wrote down anything about my initial playthrough of the game. Turns out, 17 year old me did not see that as something worth recording.
Instead I seemed to be a little full of myself. A lot of the blog entries from that time are about my own fame and power on BZP, which in the hindsight of old age looks a bit sad and pathetic. Yeah, I definitely played it up a bit for laughs, but I have to confess that there was a bit of truth behind that.
It's hard when you're seventeen and you have all these hopes and aspirations. At school, you're just a regular person, but on the internet, hey, you just make some funny Flash videos and write some silly movie parodies and suddenly you're someone special. Of course it would go to your head, you're still a kid. What do you know about power or fame? How could you possibly use those things responsibly? I wasn't even that powerful or famous. Imagine if I were a real celebrity! Yowza...
For the most part, I guess I was well-liked. Certainly if I go onto Bionicle Discord communities, people tell me they have fond memories of some of the things I've done. So maybe I'm overthinking it, maybe this is just the imposter syndrome that we all have to face in adulthood.
And things could absolutely be worse. You hear all sorts of stories about people who use their power and influence to abuse and control vulnerable people. I definitely never did anything like that. I just made some blog posts that aged poorly.
I don't think I'm a bad person now or that I was a bad person before, I just think it's interesting how my values shifted as I got older. Right now I am 31. I run my own business where I give children speech therapy. “I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” That's my new aim in life: to help make other people feel good, not just myself. My power and influence speaks for itself, I don't have to brag about it on the internet, even as a joke.
Thank you for reading this. I hope you managed to grow beyond the person you were at seventeen too.
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It's Mask of Light, but all the Matoran on Mata Nui are on their own quests to find the seventh Toa before anyone else like It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World.
Takua accidentally rides Pewku into a lake of lava and they both slowly become lava bones while Jaller waves from the bankside.
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I’ve been involved with a lot of awesome Bionicle Collaborative Mosaic projects that’s wowed the public at various conventions. (Or so I’d like to hope.) So I’ve decided to compile a list of em, with their size, where they showed up, and who helped make them. (I’m seeing a lot of repeated names too.) I've included some images, where I can find them. The first is the final design image that I got from the Mosaic Makers. (I still use Pic-to-Brick.) The second image is the finish mosaic at the convention. I’ll try to keep this post updated for future projects as well.
Displayed at: BrickFair 2010
Size: 96 x 96 studs
This is the first BZPower Bionicle Mosaic, organized by Chocolate Frogs and Nukaya. (Well, I did some of the initial design work.) Kopaka was selected because of his neutral color scheme, which was easy to convert into a mosaic. Arpy made the largest contribution to this one, with the 64x64 upper right corner all being his.
Jedi Master J
Displayed at: BrickFair 2010
Size: 96 x 96 studs
When the Kopaka mosaic got filled up, we pushed harder and came up with a second mosaic. Onua was selected because he also had a neutral color scheme with blacks and grays. This was again organized by Chocolate Frogs and Nukaya, and I provided the initial design.
Jedi Master J
Toa of Dancing*
Toa Mata Mosaic
Displayed at: BrickFair 2011
Size: 192 x 64 studs
The following year, Chocolate Frogs and Nukaya went all out and organized a brilliant mosaic with all six Toa Mata. (This time, I did nearly all the design work.) Even with all the awesome Bionicle creations that year, this mosaic was the highlight, IMO. Plus, this had most contributors so far!
Jedi Master J
Kaukau Waterfall Mosaic
Displayed at: BrickCon 2012
Size: 96 x 96 studs
This year I helped put together a mosaic based off a classic scene from the MNOLG. This one was a bit more challenging with the dithering pattern on the cliffs. Although for some reason I never got a full shot of the mosaic on its own, but luckily we did take a group shot.
Lewa Protodermis Mosaic
Displayed at: BrickCon 2013
Size: 128 x 96 studs
This year I designed a mosaic based off a classic Lewa promotional image from 2002.
55555 (I think... otherwise why'd we let him in the group picture?)
Gali Masters Mosaic
Displayed at: BricksCascade 2015, BrickUniverse 2015, BrickFair 2015, BrickCon 2015
Size: 96x128 studs
I put together a new mosaic to celebrate the reboot of Bionicle, featuring the new Gali design taken from the animations. This one was interesting because I tried to include the dark azure color, which is still fairly rare. I did end up building nearly half of this mosaic myself, but it is also the first of our collaborative mosaics to show up at multiple conventions.
Pohatu Masters Mosaic
Displayed at: BZPower 2015 - 2016 Convention MOC Circuit
Size: 64x64 studs
This was a leftover design that got voted out against the above Gali design for the main mosaic of the year. But then Danny316 and I decided to throw this together at the last minute. The biggest change here is the use of side brick design for the mask, as opposed to the studs-out view of the rest of the mosaic, which gave it extra detail at a smaller scale.
BioniLUG Lenticular Toa Mosaics
Size: Four mosaics at 96x128
Displayed at: BZPower 2016 - 2022 Convention MOC Circuit
This was easily the most daunting mosaic project I’ve been a part of. I had been contemplating the idea of making a Bionicle themed lenticular mosaic for a while. (These mosaics would have two designs that would change based on the angle they’re viewed from.) Because the number of cheese slopes required would be quite expensive, I never truly considered it, but then Black Six suggest utilizing LEGO’s RLUG Project Support Program to get all the elements we’d need. But the program had some requirements, so we had to think big for this!
The basic idea was arrived at fairly easily; the lenticular mosaics would showcase the classic Toa in their 2001 Toa Mata forms and their 2015 Masters forms. We selected the four brightly colored Toa: Gali, Lewa, Pohatu, and Tahu. (Unfortunately, Kopaka and Onua didn’t make the cut with their blander color pallets.) I designed 8 mosaics with contrasting backgrounds, with some input from other members. Even with RLUG Support, we still spent over $1000, but we bought nearly all the available colors of cheese slopes available at the time.
Black Six hosted some builds at his place, but we were still constructing these during BrickFair Virginia 2016! (I was lucky enough to attend that year and actually got to help build these, having spent months on the design process.) We got them completed just in time for the public event, and they’ve shown up to nearly every Lego Convention BZPower has been a part of ever since. There has been some discussion about dismantling them and making something new, but we’re not quite there yet!
Overall, it was a probably the most ambitious project BioniLUG has done, but we rose to the occasion and got these ordered and pieced together! (And my design and parts inventory helped quite a bit too, if I do say so myself.) It was awesome to finally see these in person, and even more awesome watching the public’s reactions when they realized that the images were changing.
Contributors: Too many people to count! We had a good number of BioniLUG members who provided the funding required to pay for the pieces, and then we had multiple members building the sections both before and during BrickFair Virginia 2016. And Black Six has continued to display them at various Lego conventions ever since.
Onua Uniters Mosaic
Displayed at: BZPower 2016 Convention MOC Circuit
I wanted to complete a classic mosaic featuring the current (and ultimately final) line of Toa. We ended up selecting Onua, Uniter of Earth, with Terak, Creature of Earth, who had a significant purple presence. This has been the last big group mosaic we’ve put together.
Displayed at: BZPower 2016 Convention MOC Circuit
Chocolate Frogs and I decided to continue making smaller Bionicle mosaics, and CF wanted to focus on one of the Rahkshi. We eventually landed on this menacing design of Kurahk, the Rahkshi of Anger, with a contrasting blue background.
Displayed at: BZPower 2018 Convention MOC Circuit
After a year’s break, Chocolate Frogs and I tackled another classic white Bionicle character. This time we chose an image of the Piraka, Thok, with a striking red background.
Slizer Ski Mosaic
Displayed at: BricksCascade 2019 and BrickFair VA 2019
Chocolate Frogs wanted to switch themes but stick with a ice character, so instead we made a mosaic of the Slizer Ice / Throwbot Ski, based on one of the disc artwork designs.
Takanuva Toa of Light 20th Anniversary Mosaic
Displayed at: BrickFair VA 2021, BricksCascade 2022
It's been a while since we last had a big group mosaic, but BioniLUG came together to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Bionicle with this Takanuva mosaic. It also features lights behind the eyes, which is a first.
Displayed at: BrickFair VA 2022
To celebrate the 20 year anniversary of the Bohrok, we created a last minute Gahlok mosaic, complete with new DOTs style lettering.
*Names have changed since then, but this is what I had listed in my blog entries.
As something of a realist, I knew going into this year that fangirl and fanboy pipe dreams of "The Return of BIONICLE" for the 20th anniversary was crazy talk. As much as I love the original run of BIONICLE from 2001 to 2010, there was no way in Karzahni that LEGO was going to revive the theme just for an anniversary year. It's a major one, but still. BIONICLE is done. No need to "continue" the story or reboot it (2015 and 2016 showed how poorly the latter went).
My prognostication was we'd likely get something like a GWP or one-off trinket by the summer to commemorate the worldwide release of BIONICLE (Europe had the Toa and Turaga from the start of 2001, but the US and Canadian markets didn't see BIONICLE sets on shelves until July). On the lower end, I figured we might be lucky to see prints of, say, Kanohi masks on minifigure torsos scattered throughout CITY sets or sets from another theme.
Then I found out about this "20 Years of LEGO Harry Potter" nonsense. Wow, I mean, I know LEGO loves money (and I write that realistically, with no chagrin or sarcasm), but Harry Potter is beyond a cash grab at this point. Especially considering several years went by when LEGO didn't produce a single Harry Potter anything. Why celebrate that, of all LEGO themes?
But that's not even why I'm mad. It was the sight of a sticker on a piece in one of these anniversary sets that really spelled it out for me. In what looks like a star chart of constellations in whatever weird, transphobic, "magic" universe Harry Potter is set in, one of the designers snuck in a constellation that forms the shape of the Kanohi Hau, a symbol of BIONICLE as a whole.
Great. Bravo. Slow clap. See that BIONICLE fans???? BIONICLE LIVES!!! Happy 20th anniversary! Watch my YouTube video to see how LEGO CELEBRATES BIONICLE - SECRET COMEBACK?!?!?
Blood from a (Makoki) stone, people. I kept my expectations in check, but now, after seeing this "tribute" in one of the new Harry Potter sets, I'm beginning to wonder if I was the foolish BIONICLE fan too optimistic for LEGO to pay respects to one of the greatest themes they ever produced? Is this all we're getting for acknowledgment of BIONICLE's 20th anniversary? Or is there a leak to come of something just a tad more substantial?
We can only hope. If this is it, though, it will be a very sad footnote to one of the best original stories I've ever heard and participated in. Reduced to a single image in a set celebrating the 20th anniversary of another, non-LEGO, IP.
Well, there's always the 50th anniversary...