The Polar Vortex-

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It is a time…

A time of Chaos…

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A time of Desolation…

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And a time of Uncertainty…

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Brother, pitted against Brother…

Children, um, having children…!

But then, from the right side of your screen…

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Came a Man…

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A man…

With a Steel Rectangle…

I MEAN LAPTOP COMPUTER!!

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This beauty is my new  MSI laptop, which is higher-ended than my old desktop! I’m not too keen on the specs anymore (I was, but I seem to have forgotten now…) I know this bad boy can run quite smoothly, and keep my lap quite warm during the cold season!

Which brings me to my next topic… The Polar Vortex.

It’s been a while since I was last here, (Christmas eve, actually, if you have forgotten) and things have been going normally, save the sudden stream of cold winds and snow that slammed us in the U.S.A. quite hard. It’s hard to believe the world used to normally be like this, if it’s not a little bit worrying about that whole climate change thing… Anyhow, we got quite hammered by blizzards here at home. School was cancelled almost instantly, and every time it looked like the snow let up and school was back in session, we’d get pounded again with the furious hail of frozen rain and snow.

However, living in some pine woodlands does have it’s downsides. During a particularly bad ice storm, many of the tree’s branches froze over and broke, littering the yard with sticks, and eventually landing on our power lines, snapping them in two. Mom was out of town at the time, on “business” (don’t ask me to elaborate, ask her please), so it was just me and Dad in the cold.

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Forced out of our homes due to the terrible chill that came with the heater offline, we went to a restaurant to recollect our thoughts. After having some simple pastries, we managed to settle It out that I would stay at Leon’s home, as he had electricity (but no internet), while my dad would overtime at work. So, getting a laptop just before this crisis came quite in handy! This cycle of running over to his house while my dad did his normal routine stuck for the next few days, as PECO was up to their helmets in repair orders.

Also, since Leon had no internet, I kept him “sane” (so he says) during those few days. He says there’s a reward for this in order, but I have yet to see it.

Soon afterwards, our power was finally restored and we managed to re-adjust to living a normal lifestyle again. More storms did come, but none of them took out the power like last time, thankfully.

Other than that, everything is pretty normal over here! I did go see The LEGO Movie, which was incredible and full of clever inside jokes. If you haven’t set your eyes on it, do it soon! You won’t regret it, I swear! (Also, bring your kids if you can, there’s plenty of ads in there before the film that are just so stupid to watch when you’re over age 10.)

I’m also getting some work done with Flash, and I plan to upload and share a few of my works here when I get the time! Yes, that Videos tab is finally going to get some content of it’s own! Whoo!

There really isn’t much left to say for today. I suppose something hilarious will happen soon enough, but right now school is getting in the way of things and making everything boring as hell. More content soon, hopefully, so stay tuned forever, because this is the Internet!

Tree

Here in the good ol’ (relatively speaking) US of A, Black Friday is usually the moment where a mass contradiction occurs. The day before was Thanksgiving, where families got together and feasted on a massive banquet of various foods, all usually supplied by the only good cook in the family. Everyone that day is thankful for what they have, but the following day, Black Friday, is where suddenly, you are compelled to beat the ever-loving shit out of someone for a Plasma-Screen that’s 25% off.

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It’s madness.

However, on that crazy day, my dad had other plans. Since everyone was brawling for parking spots at Wal-Mart, and my mom was out of town, he thought to surprise her by buying an X-Mas tree early.

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Let me also note that it was below water-freezing temperatures, and I was just settling in to my fluffy pants. But what could I do against the main figure of authority in the house? So on we went, Dad griping about the Route-1 speed traps the highway engineers must have purposely constructed along the way.

Soon, Dad noticed that the sun was starting to set. In his self-indulged haze of genius he forgot to bring the early sunset into the equation. So now we were in some of a hurry, and when Dad tries to get things done quickly, bad things ensue.

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Which is exactly what followed a short while later.

When we just arrived, we passed by a small area that had pre-cut trees for sale. It was quite cold and my hands were starting to hurt, so I tried to convince dad that maybe we should get one of those instead.

That was a mistake.

No.” He said. “We’re going to cut down our own tree. And we are going to do so within the hour!” Normally I would be quite intimidated by this, but I could see it in his face that he was also cold and wanted to go home as well. But he set this charade of masculinity up, and now he had to fulfill this to the end.

So we then were told to mount a rickety tractor trailer ride, that was quite bumpy.

Now, I’m not one to talk about my nether regions, but I don’t have that much body fat on my rear. And since the ride was quite rickety, every time we hit a bump I would receive a sharp pain in my pelvis bone. On top of that, we were surrounded by various other sons and fathers, all who probably were trying to look tough in front of their kids despite the frigid weather. This set up probably the most powerful atmosphere of misery I have ever experienced.

It was overwhelming.

When we finally reached the pine-tree fields, the grizzled, army-camo-donning, semi-aggressive war veteran who drove us handed each of us a hacksaw, and then told us where to go.

We found our preferred tree fairly quickly. It was a wide one, with puffy needles and thick branches. Upon finding it, Dad told me to stand opposite of the side where he would begin sawing away at the tree. And so he began to slowly cut away.

About thirty seconds in, I heard Dad shout something expletive. “Is everything alright?” I attempted to say through my shivering. “Everything’s okay here.” He said. “This tree just has a really thick base.”. And so he went back to sawing away.

Ten minutes passed of slow sawing and cursing, while I stayed obediently by my post, shivering away. My hands were completely numb by that point, and my face had started to turn a pale shade of blue. Soon, we came to realize, was that this tree was not going to just let us cut it down.

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In the past, most of the trees we bring home cooperate with us when we try to cut them down. They’re the right shape, bend very little when bagged up, and usually don’t spread their needles everywhere and scare the cat.

This one, however, was much different.

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This twisted soul of a tree even went as far as breaking the hacksaw we had been offered. Internally, I took this as a sign to give up. This tree was obviously aggressive, it was freezing out, and the sky was starting to illuminate with stars. But no. My Dad had to keep his image of power in check. No tree was going to prevent him from appearing strong and capable. So he soon obtained a saw from someone else whom was hauling their cooperative tree towards the tractor.

And so he went at it again.

At this point, I could almost feel my blood beginning to freeze. But I had to stand watch for when this tree would finally topple.

My Dad finally snapped when the saw hit a rather dense spot in the trunk. And in his adrenaline filled rage to not lose to this tree, he gave it a powerful kick in it’s side.

With a deafening “Crack!” the tree toppled to it’s side. My dad had won. In this battle of highly unfavorable odds, he had conquered this tree, and thus could keep his image of manly pride in check for a few more months. We then quickly hauled it back and placed it atop the car in a mesh bag, as if it was a deer we had just hunted down instead of a sedentary plant.

The tree, however, was still aggressively trying to deal as much damage as it could to us, even if that meant damaging itself.

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However, we did finally bring the tree inside, cut it down to size, and place it in our living space.

And that’s how I nearly caught severe hypothermia thanks to a persistent tree and a flamboyant sense of masculinity.

Belated Year-Closer-To-Inevitavble-Doom-Day!

I know this is a bit late, but I was busy going places and getting pointless things done. My 16th birthday (October 7th for you new readers) can be summed up in this one image:

My birthday, to be honest, was pretty dull. Not dull, as in nothing exiting happened, more dull as in nothing new happened.

Most of my birthdays when I was little were like some kind of festival for me. My folks always got me all these incredible doodads and whatsits for presents, used some huge place like Dave & Buster’s, and always baked me some incredibly awesome cake that I didn’t even eat. My friends back then thought I was the best for having my folks set up this incredible palooza for them and me (which was strange, because for the other 364 days they treated me like some social outcast).

My birthdays in my younger years were like those crazy things you’d expect me to have on my 16th time around the sun. I got the presents I dreamed of, which, instead of some new Toyota, were things like a Nintendo GameCube. Heck, I even remember on my 11th, I ate so much candy I got sick and vomited afterwards. I always had the crazy celebrations with all my pals when I was little, instead of in my teens like everyone else does.

My birthdays when I was just a toddler, those were like some special holiday just for me. My Great, Great Grandfather would always come in and remark how older I looked every year, and distant relatives would mail over their gifts. I even remember one special birthday during my Thomas The Tank Engine obsessive phase when I really wanted that green one (I think Percy was his name) like nothing else in the world. And when I saw that tiny box, combined with the sugar-filled energy that any little kid would get, I’m pretty sure I just lost it then and there.

My hands were shaking so much I couldn’t even unwrap it. My mom had to come in and unravel it bit by bit as I desperately tried to unveil the plastic beauty within. My dad just stared at me with worry as my heart rate began to enter the BPM comparable to that of a hummingbird. And when I finally got it open… I actually don’t remember what happened after that. Maybe I passed out or something. But I remember I was happy to have that little smiling train. It was mine. Nobody could take it from me. Not Santa, not my parents, not the ultimate deity of the universe itself. No one.

However, as I aged and learned the sad, sad truths about the lies parents tell you as a kid (I was brought into the world by a pterodactyl? Seriously?!), I began to get bored of the same big old mega-parties I held. The last one was my 12-13th, when I went to D&B’s again and only brought two friends. Then for a while, boring, non-celebratory birthdays were actually exiting because they were new. Then those quickly got boring, and here we are at me being 16.

No, I didn’t get my drivers license.

No, I didn’t get on that MTV show, or whatever it is.

No, I didn’t get a bazillion expensive gifts.

No, I didn’t even get a cake. (I got three cookies mashed into some blob with a candle in it.)

No, my friends didn’t even bother to visit or give me anything.

However, this simple day was punctuated by something exiting. Not as exiting as getting that toy train. Not as exiting as getting a car.

I got my own freaking scanner.

I’m sure the following days of my upcoming 4-day-weekend will be only punctuated by this:

And by stars, I’ll enjoy it.

Videos?!

Okay. This is getting quite old. You folks are probably getting real tired of me writing every month or so, with me always starting with how sorry I am for not showing up and so on. So let’s stop that routine.

Anyway, you folks probably have noticed that “videos” tab on the side there. It doesn’t take a brain genius to figure out why I put that there, but I thought I may as well let you guys know that sooner or later (probably much, much later… Blasted schoolwork…), I’ll be expanding my influence into videos!

I’m not exactly sure when or how I’m going to start this, but you bet your buttons I’ll post it here before anywhere else!

Ugh, another short post. Oh well, I’ll get better.

I assume I’ll get better, actually. Not certain.

Game Review 3- Pikmin 3!

Pikmin 3 is a really beautifully done game for the Nintendo Wii U console, and a very good one at that! In fact, it’s the reason I even got a Wii U in the first place!

The game takes place after the two previous games, beginning on the Planet known as Koppai. Koppai is suffering from overpopulation, a food shortage, and a lack of planning for the future. The only hope they have is to find another planet that has food on it. After sending out dozens of unmanned probes (called SPEROs), they find a bountiful world they name PNF-404. They then send out a expedition, led by three Koppiates (the three characters you play as), Alph, Brittany, and the Captain, Charlie. However, just before they’re about to enter PNF-404′s orbit, the ship suddenly malfunctions and the trio are hurled out of the ship, falling down to the surface…

The crew are separated at the start of the game, but they’re soon reunited so you can play to the fullest. While exploring the new planet, you’ll find the adorable Pikmin, tiny creatures that are half-plant and half-animal. Like in the previous games, the Pikmin live inside what is called an onion, which stores and plants Pikmin seeds. There’s more than one type of Pikmin, and as you find them, their respective onions join you.

The Gameplay is much like the previous games: you hurl Pikmin at foes or obstacles, they’ll take the spoils and send them back to their onion. Normal items, like enemy corpses or pellets (from Pellet Posies, a strange type of flower) will be sucked up into the onion, where it’ll spit out a number of seeds based on the size of the item. However, some corpses or items are heavy, so you’ll need more than one Pikmin to carry it back. It’s sort of a cycle that way, you get more Pikmin to defeat and carry bigger items to gain even more Pikmin to defeat even stronger and bigger foes. There’s also obstacles and foes that are only weak against one Pikmin type.

There are 7 Pikmin types that have been introduced over the span of the franchise, but Pikmin 3 only has 5. Red Pikmin, which deal more damage to foes and are resistant to fire. Yellow Pikmin, which are shock resistant and can complete broken electrical circuits. Blue Pikmin, which can survive underwater (other Pikmin types will drown). Rock Pikmin, which can break crystal barriers and hard enemy carapaces. Lastly, the flying Pikmin, which are small, weak, but very maneuverable and can fly over most obstacles. You’ll encounter them all as the story progresses.

The mission the trio have is to harvest fruit from the planet, and you’ll find them scattered about each stage (there’s only 5 total, but you have to revisit them often). When you find your first piece of fruit (a strawberry), it becomes evident (to you, not the characters) that you’re on Earth! You have to carry the fruit back to your ship with some help from the Pikmin. The ship (called the S.S. Drake) takes in the fruit, and then juices it for food the crew consume at the end of each day, while the seeds are stored for when they return to Koppai. Each day also has a time limit: as night falls nocturnal predators will start to wake up, so you must retreat your ship and lift off (along with the onion). Any stray Pikmin you leave behind will be eaten.

Here’s a cool part: You use the Wii U Gamepad as a Koppaite exploration tool, called the Koppad. It shows you a birds-eye view of the map as you explore the world, and acts as many other useful tools. You can also enter a first-person mode and use the Koppad to look about and take pictures, which you post on MiiVerse!

That’s the general gist of the game in terms of plot and gameplay, but the puzzles get harder, the plot gets thicker, and the enemies get tougher as you play on.

If you ask me, the game is incredible. The enemies even act like their original counterparts. Frogs (Wollywogs, the game calls them) croak when idle and even clean themselves when in water. Bugs swarm, spiders scurry, crabs nibble their mandibles, bats are stunned when you light up their caves. Add on the beautiful graphics, and you’ve got some astounding visuals. I also am fond of the fact that you and your Pikmin are about the size of a dime. Tiny bugs are towering beasts. A watermelon is like a heavenly fruit for the explorers. A cellphone is a powerful piece of alien technology that enhances the S.S. Drake’s scanning range. They even name the fruit they discover! A cantaloupe is a “Wayward Moon”. Star fruit are “Stellar Extrusions”. They even mistake a Kiwi for an animal! The countless little details are just charming. It’s a beautiful game.

I don’t want to spoil too much, and there’s many upon many a review for it out there. (I’m also a little out of practice…) I highly recommend this game, and I say it’s a very good reason to get a Wii U console. Give it a try! You won’t be disappointed.