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wolfqueen001 Time for a change... I think this sums me up pretty well:

Things tend to turn out well when you worry, so that's probably good. - EmP

I still <333 wolves, though.

Title: Re: My Updated Games I Want to Review before I Die List
Posted: January 02, 2012 (11:48 AM)
I originally posted this several years ago when I first became active here, and after EmP started the Alpha Marathon thing. There are so many games here I don't really have a hope of reviewing them all, but I like to update the list as I go on (and often add new items...), just to see my progress. I'm primarily re-posting it again because I don't feel like having to go back to my old post and doing it there, plus I want to use this to sort of motivate myself to write more.

These are all games I want to review / have reviewed either for kicks or because someone recommended it. Recommendations are always welcome.

3DS

Kid Icarus
Resident Evil: Revelation

DS:

Contra 4
Dragon Quest VI: Realms of Revelation
Fossil Fighters
Pokemon Pearl

Game Boy:

Pokemon Red/Blue (Whichever I feel like)
Pokemon Yellow

Game Boy Color:

Animorphs
Pokemon Gold/Silver (whichever one I feel like)
X-Men: Mutant Academy

Game Boy Advance:

Pokemon Ruby/Sapphire (whichever I feel like)
Pokemon Fire Red/Leaf Green (whichever I feel like)

Genesis

Cutie Suzuki no Ringside Angel
Earthworm Jim
Jim Power: the Arcade Game
Shining in the Darkness
Shining Force
Shining Force II
Twinkle Tale
Ys III
Zombies Ate My Neighbors

NES:

3D Battles of World Runner
Ai Sensei no Oshiete: Watashi no Hoshi
Bad Dudes
Crystalis
Dragon Warrior
Dragon Warrior III
Fire 'N Ice
Gauntlet
Incredible Crash Test Dummies
Just Breed
Kouryuu Densetsu Villgust Gaiden
Metroid
Mother
Musashi no Bouken
Q*bert
Rainbow Islands
TaleSpin
Ys
Ys II

PC:

Age of Empires II: The Conquerors
Age of Empires III
Age of Mythology
Blades of Time
Confrontation
Dungeon Siege
Dragonester
Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind
Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion
Eschalon: Book II
Fantasy Wars
Half-Life
Half-Life 2
Heroes of Might and Magic II
Heroes of Might and Magic III
Heroes of Might and Magic IV
Heroes of Might and Magic V
Lylian: Episode One
Magicka
Nancy Drew: Mystery at Waverly Academy
Oil Rush
Plants vs. Zombies
Puzzle Bots
Quake II
Sam & Max: Abe Lincoln Must Die
Sam & Max 201: Ice Station Santa
Speedball 2
Spore
Tales of Monkey Island Episode 1: Launch of the Screeching Narwhal
Wizardry 8
Worms Armageddon

Playstation/PSN:

Castlevania: Symphony of Night
Darkstone
Digimon World
Final Fantasy Origins
Final Fantasy VII
Legend of Dragoon
Lost World: Jurassic Park
Medievil I
Medievil II
Metal Gear Solid
Spyro the Dragon
Spyro: Year of the Dragon
Tekken 2
Xena: Warrior Princess
Yu-Gi-Oh: Forbidden Memories

Playstation 2:

007: Nightfire
Beyond Good and Evil
Casltevania: Curse of Darkness
Final Fantasy X
The Getaway
God of War
God of War II
.hack//Infection
.hack//Mutation
.hack//Outbreak
.hack//Quarantine
.hack//G.U Rebirth
.hack//G.U. Reminisce
.hack//G.U. Redemption
Kingdom Hearts
Kingdom Hearts II
Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring
Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
Lord of the Rings: Return of the King
Medal of Honor: Frontline
Medal of Honor: Rising Sun
Medal of Honor: European Assault
Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty
Metal Gear Solid 3
Primal
Prince of Persia: Sands of Time
Psychonauts
Ratchet and Clank
Resident Evil: Code Veronica X
Resident Evil 4
Shadow of the Colossus
Spyro: Enter the Dragonfly
Star Wars Battlefront II
Twisted Metal: Black
Yu-Gi-Oh: Duelists of the Roses

PSP:

Dissidia: Final Fantasy
Kingdom Hearts: Birth By Sleep
Shadow of Destiny

Sega CD

Vay

Saturn:

Virtua Fighter CG Portrait Series Vol. 9: Kage Maru

Alpha Marathon 2012

#:
A:
B: Blades of Time
C: Confrontation
D:
E:
F:
G:
H:
I:
J:
K: Kid Icarus
L:
M:
N:
O: Oil Rush
P:
Q:
R:
S:
T:
U:
V:
W:
X:
Y: Ys II
Z:
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Title: So I think I know why HG's so dead....
Posted: October 03, 2011 (05:47 PM)
Everyone moved to Realm of Gaming. Or elsewhere. Even Jason seems to have given up on it!

Of course, Jason could also just be receiving money for his contributions at RoG, but I didn't think RoG is in any more of a position to pay its staff than Jason is. But, well, I could be wrong about this. I just found it interesting.

You can also find Louis Bedigan there as as well. And probably a few others. True's a main player on that site, and Espiga contributes now and then.

As for the rest of us, who can say where we've gone? Some of us have just grown tired, or busy, or discouraged by the sheer lack of growth here. But as for others, I really can't say. I do know one thing, though. This is such a sad situation to be in.

Title: God help me....
Posted: September 13, 2011 (08:34 PM)
So I finally got a job.... A real one this time, and not one I intend to quit after two days of training.... But it required an almost immediate move to a city two-and-a-half hours from my house and one with limited, or at least difficult, public transportation between the two....

This has meant that in the last two weeks, I've had to find an apartment around the time I start (Thursday). This has resulted in limited success. Not many apartments are available right now. More like at the end of the month at best.

And the one that was available right away, and the one that was cheapest, I totally thought would work out.... Except that today I found out that some of the other tenants are unsavory characters, and since I don't particularly fancy getting raped on my walk home from the bus stop come December when it gets dark at 4:30 in the afternoon, I decided to hold off on putting money down on the place because I don't want to get stuck in a lease I don't feel safe keeping.

Soooooo I've have to go look for a slew of new apartments... and hope to God one of them will have something open... I just... really hope I can find something, though, because I really can't afford to live in a hotel for two weeks or so until I get a place...

I'm going to try to see if the local Department of Human Services office can help with that... or the local Housing Authority, but... I don't know. I'm beginning to doubt that things will come through as quickly as I'd like.... And I'm really wishing I'd had more time to find something that'd work...

But on the bright side of the near total eclipse, I at least have a job that would pay pretty good money for a starting position... so I just HAVE to make this work. =/

Title: So I got a job...
Posted: June 28, 2011 (05:21 PM)
...apparently. Just got through the interview today and they offered on the spot... However, despite the interviewer's words to the contrary, I kind of had the impression they more or less hire anyone. Training starts tomorrow and ends on my birthday, which I've forgotten about but don't really care, either, because hardly anyone remembers outside of relatives anyway.

Assuming I get the job, I'll probably be extremely busy but hope to look elsewhere for work as well, since this position struck me as highly temporary, especially considering who they look for. Pay is determined either at a base fixed rate or commission, depending on which is higher, and it's these sorts of jobs that I'd been warned against (though, the warnings seemed to point towards strictly commission-based jobs, but even so, from what I understand of this, the base pay - though it sounds like a lot - won't really amount to much in the end). Still, overall I'm looking for the experience since any jobs I really want will involve working with people, and this should hopefully get my confidence with that built up - out of necessity if nothing else - and will thus better enable me to secure a better job.

The hours at least seemed flexible, so hopefully I'll be able to go to other interviews without hurting my performance too badly, assuming I make up the hours.

Granted, all of this depends on whether I actually make it through training. If I don't, I probably won't be overly fussed, but if I do, I'll also be glad to finally be doing something.

P.S. I still intend to write a review for Jason's Steam contest thing... but might be hard-pressed now.

P.P.S. In case you're wondering why I made this post almost completely invisible, it's just as a precaution in unlikely event my newfound employers decide to check the site out after seeing it on my resume and might find this post less than inspiring.
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Title: WQ's Year in Review - because everyone has to do it
Posted: January 10, 2011 (12:07 PM)
I told myself that in 2010, I wanted to write at least ten reviews, which would have been a lot better (for me) than the seven I'd barely managed to eek out the previous year. I succeeded, writing twelve, and also managed a few other personal achievements as well. Three reviews counted for staff, and I actually managed to do considerably better than usual in a couple tourneys. Overall, not a bad year.

The summaries that follow are probably a bit too self-reflective for my tastes, but oh well.




Plants vs. Zombies - February 28
Hits: 390

Subbed this for Challange V where it did pretty poorly with triple 75s. Zipp left feedback of a mixed variety, but it sounded fairly favorable, so I guess it wasnít THAT bad. EmP was happy with it, though, so Iím not too upset over its performance. (After all, my scores in that tourney were part of the reason our team received last placeÖ) Iím not too sure how I feel about it myself. I wasnít too happy with it when I wrote it, but I think itís grown on me a little since. If Iím disappointed about anything with the review, itís that I couldnít make it as ďuniqueĒ as I had originally envisioned.

Resident Evil: Code Veronica X - May 16
Hits: 350

This review kicked off my summer review-off (so to speak) where I wrote one review about once a week or two. Thatís pretty good considering Iíd only written one the whole year until that point, and only written 7 last year altogether. I subbed this for the horror contest thing. It did pretty lousy there. I placed second to last, something I hadnít done in a long while. I was understandably disappointed, but not really surprised since I just didnít feel great about it. The only outside feedback I got was from Zipp, who was one of the judges anyway. Despite seeming to favor it there, he still only gave it a 78, which kind of surprised me when I saw it. Basically a 78 to me is something like ďitís not bad but itís not good eitherĒ. Well, maybe a little better than that, but not by much. Anyway, because of the almost non-existent feedback, Iím basically left with the judgesí opinion and my own feelings about it.

It was a fun game, though, so Iím glad I got to play it.

God of War II - May 24
Hits: 282

I love the God of War series, so I felt like reviewing this. After my first GoW review did so well in Challange IV, I was hoping to duplicate that feat (or at least come close to it). Unfortunately, that didnít happen. I certainly didnít feel it was as good as my first upon finishing it, and I received absolutely no feedback whatsoever, so I assume my original thoughts on it are correct. It wasnít good enough for RotW, and I wrote it between contests, so there was really nothing in which I could get obligatory feedback for it, so Iím stuck like that. But thatís alright. I canít really be great all the time.

Legend of Dragoon - June 04
Hits: 560

Kind of wrote this on a whim after spending almost a week playing the game again. Itís one of my favorite games, so I wanted to do it great justice. Sadly, as Iím wont to do, I felt like the review fell in with the others Iíd been writing until that point and would get either unfavorable or no feedback at all. Thankfully, it did much better than I ever expected, getting more feedback than any single review ever to that point (it even beat Ys in that regard) and even won RotW. EmP said it was the best RPG review heíd read in a while. That made me very happy, and I felt much better about the review after that. Iím quite proud of it now. With all that, I really donít know why I felt so bad about it at first, but, to be fair, I didnít have any reason to feel good about any of my reviews for a long while, soÖ. I guess itís not that surprising.

Beyond Good & Evil - June 30
Hits: 275

This review broke my ďonce a weekĒ streak thanks to incredible writerís block. I eventually choked this one out for TT, though, and Iím rather glad I did. While it didnít do well at all in that contest, its outside feedback was pretty good. Ben gave it third in RotW for that week (and there wee about 17-20 reviews that week), which was cool, and EmP seemed to like it, too. I actually felt alright about this one when I finished it, too, so thatís the first I felt anything decent about a review prior to receiving feedback in a long while. I think LoDís stellar reception bumped up my confidence quite a bit because I donít think I took a huge hit there until several reviews later.

Anyway, I wanted to focus on the more unique aspects of the game, which is why I put a huge focus on the camera. I felt that was the coolest feature in the game, but because itís so unusual and the way I presented it may not have been as ďorganizedĒ (or whatever) as others would have liked, Iím not too surprised at the mixed reactions it got.

Metal Gear Solid 2 - July 08
Hits: 302

The second week in a row I subbed something new for TT. I think this did even worse there than BG&E, but I was quite happy with the review when I wrote it, so I tried not to let it bother me too much. (Although, it admittedly didnít stop me from writing a huge response to all the negative feedbackÖ). It didnít place in RotW (not surprising since it was Schultzís week). Outside feedback told me that True loved it, which made me feel vindicated about my confidence in it. Sash left sort of indirect feedback on it, but thatís alright, since I sort of interpreted it as favorable commentary. So Iím glad for that.

Again, I tried doing things a bit differently here, as I was tired of my usual style. I think thatís partly why I was so satisfied (relatively speaking) with it. Despite the mixed sentiments on it, I felt it was fine and really didnít want to change anything about it, especially not the stylistic approach.

Fantasy Wars - July 21
Hits: 138

Another long(ish) break between writingÖ Thatís OK though since this is a game that takes a VERY LONG time to play. Not that itís a bad thing. In fact, thatís partly why I enjoy it so much. It just shows how much depth goes into the strategy involved.

I wrote this one for TT where it actually won. None of my new reviews had won an individual match until that point, so that was reassuring. True and Ben seemed to like it quite a bit as well, so that was nice. EmP also said he liked it a lot, which gave me a nice ego boost, especially since heís the one who gave me the game. I remember being nervous and excited when submitting this one more than anything else, but I think I was also a little unsure of this one after how the others had been performing. I mean, despite the fact that Iíd felt fine about my earlier two, I guess negative feedback impacts me more than I would like for my future efforts. But even so, I still felt better about this one after writing it than I did about any of my reviews that Iíd written between Half Life 2 and Legend of Dragoon.

After the credit sequence after beating the final scenario, the game almost implies that there will be a second Fantasy Wars. Whether thereíll actually be one or not I canít say, but I hope there is.

Dragonester - August 05
Hits: 509

This is a fun (if flawed) little strategy puzzler for the PC. EmP was nice to let me download his staff copy; I was kind of running out of steam and ideas for good games to play for TT. Therefore, TT or not, I thought the least I could do was review it. I did so, though it felt a little too long for a puzzle review. Even so, I felt that everything I put in there was necessary. I also put A LOT of time into editing it because I wanted it to be as good as I could get it. I knew it wasnít my best writing, after all, so I at least wanted it to read as smoothly as possible.

Overall I was satisfied with it when I finished, and EmP felt much the same way about it as I did, so that made me feel better. It absolutely bombed in TT, but that wasnít too surprising considering the content and type of game. Though I will admit that I was unusually irked at Schultzís editing comments that week. I think it was because I felt like Iíd put a lot of effort into it already and didnít really appreciate the tirade of negativity thrown at me in that regard, especially since a lot of it was, well, editing, whichÖ is also my specialty.

Kingdom Hearts II - August 20
Hits: 231

Wrote this for TT Finals. I wasnít very satisfied with it at all upon writing it. Hell, I may have felt it was one of (if not THE) worst reviews I wrote all TT. I think this had a few main reasons behind it: 1) I felt like my first KH review far surpassed this one in quality. 2) I really wanted to do something else with it than what I did, and I feel that what I did do was basically a rehash of what I had done in my first KH review. And 3) Despite being satisfied with my Dragonester review that Iíd used the previous week, I have no doubt that all he negative feedback deflated my ego considerably.

I still donít know how to feel about this one, honestly. I mean, outside of TT it got absolutely no feedback, so Iím going to assume it was just average and not as good as my first review. Which is fine, I guess, but I really wanted it to compare with my first one.

I really do have a serious issue with writing sequels. I almost never feel like the sequel review is as good as the first one, so when I finish with it, I feel even worse about it than I normally would about writing the same quality review for another game. I think the only time I felt that the sequel review was actually better was my Half-Life 2 review. But, then again, my first Half-Life review was the third review I ever wrote, soÖ itís really not that surprising in that regard.

.hack//Infection - September 04
Hits: 200

During the last week of summer vacation, I decided it would be a great idea to revisit another full-length RPG. Since Iíd played this one many times before, I figured I could beat it in a week and then review it. The main purpose behind this, of course, was to compare it to the later (far superior) .hack//G.U. games on PS2. To my disappointment, but not so much my surprise, I did not enjoy the original .hack as much as I remembered. One nostalgia-themed comparison review written during the first week of classes before things got crazy was the result, and I was pleased.

Shocking but true; I was Ė and am Ė very happy with this review. For once Iíd written something the way I wanted; the time and effort I put into making it perfect (to me) only added to the feeling. Itís reception was generally good, though it failed to win RotW in a rather slow week. That was frustrating, but second place isnít so bad. In any case, I do know that from this point on, I felt considerably better about all my reviews. At the very least, I tried not to allow oh so familiar Creeping Doubt corrupt my thoughts on my work as much.

Itís a nice change.

Rambling aside, the .hack series is fantastic, especially for fans of the anime. Itís true that he original four volumes arenít as good as the later ones, but theyíre still worth a look if youíre into that sort of thing, like I am. And, well, Infection is just the first of the original four. They do get better Ė as they should Ė as they go along.

Puzzle Bots - September 18
Hits: 314

I took Puzzle Bots from EmP as my second Ďunofficialí freelance game in my history of reviewing. Itís a fun, quick little puzzle game that has a wonderful sense of humor. As such, it was quite difficult to review. I think I wound up scrapping the first draft altogether in favor of something a bit more palatable. OrÖ maybe I just heavily edited the first draft. Either way, power edits were made, and the review was made all the better for it. Which is convenient because I didnít have anything better for MOTO, which was going on at that time. I believe I had started Eschalon with intentions of using it in MOTO, but that game proved to be too involving for a contest deadline that was just around the corner.

In any case, Puzzle Bots did alright in that contest. Which is fine because it probably did a lot better than anticipated for a review of that sort. Puzzle games tend not to do well in contests, after all.

Eschalon: Book II - November 04
Hits: 1430

The last review I wrote of 2010 and yet another freelance assignment. The game turned out to be incredibly involving, which is why it took practically two months to write the review. But thatís hardly a bad thing. Quite the opposite, really. Eschalon provides an incredible challenge to hardcore RPG fans as well as a plethora of ways to customize your character, which naturally alters the way you play the game. Itís definitely worth checking out if youíre interested in a unique take on the old-school dungeon crawls of old.

The review itself didnít take nearly as long to write, though I do admit I had a bit of a problem with an approach at first. Thankfully, espiga gave me a great idea for how to start it, which I used to the best of my ability, and the rest of the review wrote itself from there. As a whole, itís probably the best review of the year that Iíve written. The praise from it has been phenomenal. Itís probably influenced more people to buy that game than any other review on site of this year, and thatís fact alone fills me with great satisfaction.

I finished this review in time for Trueís ďIím giving away my bookĒ tourney where it won, though not without controversy (unlike some people, I acknowledge the controversies involving my reviews. =D). It can be argued that EmP technically won the contest, and only lost because True docked him 50 points for being English. Initially I defended EmPís right to victory because of the unfairness of the circumstances Ė a fact he often forgets when de-legitimizing my only win and flaunting his forever superiority Ė but after seeing Trueís real reason for the deduction, accepted it. Besides, the rules did state True could dock for any reason, however unjust, and, well, the selfish part of me really wanted something to gloat about, and I refuse to let any level of controversy take that away from me.

Regardless of the circumstances of that tourney, Iím very proud of that review. It almost won RotW, and perhaps should have, but thatís okay. Iím so unbelievably pleased at how many people have gone out and bought Ė or at least considered buying Ė this game because of my review that I canít even describe it. And honestly, I actually like taking pride in my work. Itís so much better than the usual mopey-dopey unconfident sentiments I have about many other reviews. Seriously. That doubting unconfident nonsense really started growing old on me. I canít imagine how sick of it other people have been.

Of course Ė this post aside Ė I fully intend to keep my humility. But I also fully intend not to take it to such self-deprecating extremes as I once had done.

If thereís one thing I can take away from everything thatís gone on surrounding this review, itís that Iíve never wanted to ďlegitimatelyĒ win a contest more in my life.

EDIT: Thanks whoever fixed the title thing for me.
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Title: HO HO HO!! Merry Christmas!
Posted: December 24, 2010 (10:46 PM)
Santa Wolf has decided to give everyone Christmas presents this year because the spirit of the holiday has filled her soul wtih love and joy.

However, because she is part wolf, you'll have to forgive her if she gives someone an inappropriate gift. I assure you she was well intentioned.

EmP:
You get ME! =D Haha. Just kidding. You deal with me enough as is. Check your HGmail for a surprise, though. =P

Felix:
A few things come to mind for you. You could receive a bottle of your favorite beer, a Philosoraptor T-Shirt and/or something that relates to accounting that I'm not clever enough to think of right now. The choice is yours. =P

OD:
You shall receive a watch and calendar so that you'll never be late for an RotW again. =D You'll also receive a year supply of chasers for the hangovers I'll know you'll get in the coming year. =P

Masters:
You get some Dale Brown novels that I think you might enjoy.


You get the entire collection of Star Trek if you don't already have that. If you do have it, it'll be Battlestar Galactica. Failing that, you're just getting Mass Effect. =P

Zig:
You'll receive the full collection of Japanese import titles - good, bad, indy and covering all genres. This does not include games you already own.

Espiga:
MORE SEXY KOREANS

Zipp:
You'll get a copy of Eschalon: Book III whenever that comes out.

Santa Wolf is well aware that she missed many people, but don't feel bad. The only reason you go unmentioned is because Santa Wolf can't think of something appropriate for you. Leave a hint and maybe you'll be added to the list.

[Disclaimer: This post is similar to the one Felix did a couple years ago. All gifts mentioned here are strictly hypothetical.]
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Title: Memories of Mallorca: Formentor
Posted: October 24, 2010 (09:08 PM)
I haven't done one of these in a while, so here goes. Hope you all appreciate it.

Formentor was probably the most touristy place I ever visited on the island. I think, from what I saw, there were more Brits and Germans there than there were Spanish. Seriously. I think the only Spaniards there were the ones doing the vending.

Considering just how touristy the place is, I had to wonder whether this was where EmP wound up on his vacation. Though, I didn't see anything about a crazy golf course, so probably not. haha.

In any case, this is just another example of how much of a lousy tourist he is. Look at these beaches! The place was gorgeous, so I'm really glad I was able to go. Truth be told, a friend and I had decided to go there to see the lighthouse that the place was supposedly famous for, but we couldn't figure out how to get there, so we just contented ourselves with walking along the beach instead.

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I had a huge obsession with the sand castles all the British kids were making, so there may be a few of these in here. This one's particularly blurry, but the others are better.

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ZOMG ANOTHER SAND CASTLE haha. Nah. Looks like I decided to spare you all and just show those two.

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Yeah. I really don't have a whole lot to say about these. I just thought they were pretty. I did think about posting a pic of my shadow to tantalize and torment you all, but I think I'll spare you that for now. Maybe I'll use it for another segment. =P
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Title: This semester...
Posted: September 11, 2010 (06:25 PM)
So far, this semester is looking like it'll be a bit of a "break" from what I've been doing. Which is good, because if I ever have to do anything as strenuous and exhausting as last year, I'll shoot myself, I swear. I do have some concerns, as I always do, but they'll probably work themselves out... as they always do.

I'm actually less concerned with getting straight As this semester (*shockgaspawesurprise*), and am more concerned with just getting the work done. I also want to try and start job-searching, though, the problem with that has to do with my schedule, as you'll see in a moment.

I only have 4 classes (12 credits) and in internship (another 3 credits, though I don't count it as a class), but due to the way things are laid out, I don't have a lot of time during the day to run errands and the like. That means, it's actually quite difficult (though not impossible) for me to access the Career Office regularly like I did last semester.

The classes themselves include a history class about Shipwreck Archeology, that I'm taking out of interest and to help bolster my knowledge in case I'd need it for my internship. I also really like the professor teaching it because he's really understanding. The class itself doesn't actually appear to be very taxing, too, and I've already done one of the two main "projects" that make up part of my grade.

I'm taking two political science classes: one about American National Security and the other about Modern Political Thought (where I read political philosophers like Locke, Hobbes and Rousseau). These are the two classes I'm most concerned with (surprising because PLSC classes are usually quite effortless). I suppose this has to do with the fact that I'm unfamiliar with the professors teaching it, and, since both made it clear that reading the material would be critical to passing the course, I can't actually judge how true that statement really is. Furthermore, both of these classes want me to write a 10+ page term paper that can be about almost anything. In the case of the former, it could be any national security topic, and in the case of the latter, it can be about literally anything as long as we apply at least one of the thinkers into the paper. Thing is, as easy as "a paper about anything" sounds, it really isn't easy at all because I really have no clue what to write about.

The last real class I'm taking is the Fiction Writing course that I've been wanting to take since I came here. It's actually turning out to be exactly what I wanted since the only real assignments in that class are two short stories (10-page minimum) and a revision of one of those stories. The other parts of the grade come from some reading presentation thing where we have toprepare questions for the class, and participation.

My internship is quite interesting, to say the least, but I think I'll talk about that at a later date. Suffice to say, it takes up the majority of the time I have, as I work for 6 hours straight on Tuesdays and Thursdays, which, after factoring in travel time, doesn't really leave a whole lot of time for me to do schoolwork on those days. Basically, my problem for now is trying to work around an unfamiliar schedule. I'm sure I'll figure it out sooner rather than later. I'm just glad that I likely won't have to pull any stupid all-nighters this semester. The about 6 I did last semester alone practically killed me. (well, it sure felt like it anyway)
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Title: I (still) need a tech wizard
Posted: August 13, 2010 (08:17 AM)
Ok, if any of you saw the message where I awkwardly tried explaining the Rollercoaster Tycoon situation, I spoke with my brother and what I had thought was an issue wasn't really the issue I was thinking. Rather, he had installed the expansion and it had wiped all our progress in the process. That's a glitch I had read about some time ago, so I can find a way how to fix it.

However, I still need help with the Telltale thing because I am having a genuine filepath issue with that one. For whatever reason, when I try to load the game, it creats a new Telltale folder in the My Documents folder in my computer. There was initially only one file there, which I moved to the proper game folder to see if it would make a difference. Instead the game didn't even load at all saying there was some sort of error message. However, since I never actually tried loading the game before I did all this, I don't know if that message would have appeared regardless. Restoring the file didn't make a difference, either, so I'm actually inclined to think that it's another problem entirely.

Either way, the game still acts like it wants to read from the wrong folder - the Telltale folder in My Documents rather than the Telltale folder in Program Files, which is weird. If anyone knows how to fix that, I'd be grateful.

But since I think there's another problem at work there (possibly a compatibility issue with my computer), I might have to wait to experiment with a few more things when I get back to school.

This is kind of depressing.

Title: Could've called that...
Posted: June 26, 2010 (03:27 PM)
America loses to Ghana because, as usual, we fuck up during the first half and have to concede a goal. It's LAW or something. We might have been fine if we hadn't given up that second goal during extra time, but really, that wouldn't have been an issue if we'd just played right from the beginning.

Again, we're the laughing stock of the world (of soccer). Let's all celebrate our perpetual averageness.

Still, I guess it's an achievement we made it out of group play at all, though I still think the majority of that was sheer luck also.

Prediction: England lose tomorrow. If I could be assed to pull up a bracket, I bet I could call at least 75% of the matches correctly, at least in terms of who wins and who loses. I was write about Uruguay earlier, and I was write about today's match, though I was strongly hoping I wouldn't be.

EDIT: Crap, forgot to uncheck the box. Oh well. I don't know why I'm rambling on about this so much anyway. Maybe because I expect others to and they haven't as much, hahaha.

Title: Woo!
Posted: June 23, 2010 (12:23 PM)
For the first time since God knows when,* the U.S. advance out of group play in the World Cup. To top that, we even beat out England to top the group because we scored more goals throughout the tournament than they did. All that getting dicked over by shitty calls from the refs doesn't even matter now that we qualify for the last stage of the tournament.

That being said, I don't have much hope that we'll progress much further. It's a heart-bleeding miracle we even got this far. Even with lousy ref calls, those wouldn't have mattered to begin with if we weren't sloppy during the first half of our first two games. I'm just glad we managed to pull it together this time around, though it really was looking hopeless for a while there.

Whatever happens now, I can be glad that we at least made it this far. And, in the fairness of competitive spirit, I hope England does well also. ...but not if we face them again. =D

Spain's another one I'm interested in seeing, too, though I've paid significantly less attention to them so don't really know where they stand.

*The commentators said the last time the U.S. topped its group was in 1930, but that doesn't necessarily mean we managed to get out of group play since then. I'm not a huge sports fan so don't really pay much attention to history and things. Truth is, I only really pay attention to the international stuff like this, which is why I'm even bothering to talk about it at all.
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Title: Man, fuck BP
Posted: June 03, 2010 (03:07 PM)
This oil spill is only the latest in a series of disasters from that oil company. The first, that I know of, occurred in 2005 (or was it 2007?) when that Texas oil refinery blew up killing about fifteen or more people. Then a few years ago I heard about them dumping waste material into Lake Michigan. And now this. I'm sure there are other infractions as well, but those I'm not aware of. What's especially infuriating about this whole thing is that BP has always stated that they "support" the environment, and yet their actions show quite the opposite.

I'm sure that they aren't the only company to have serious ethical issues, and I know they're not the first to have to deal with an oil spill. Though I do think that this is the worst oil spill in... like... ever. To be completely fair, though, Exxon probably isn't much better, but as corrupt as they likely are, I don't think they've had such serious things as these occur on their record. I heard there was an Exxon oil spill some years ago, but it never was as serious as this.

I just hate how the world seems to revolve around money and that corporations refuse to do what's right either for the people or the environment because it'll cost profits. That's going to be the death of this world one of these days. It really is.

In unrelated news, does anyone know when the World Cup starts if it hasn't already?

Title: Note to self
Posted: May 25, 2010 (11:46 AM)
I need to stop submitting reviews before I'm completely done editing them. This is the second time in a row I've donw this now. It's kind of silly that I can't wait a day to post them so that they're as complete as possible. Sometimes I make large changes! Yeesh.

Thank goodness for the edit feature.

Anyway, I'll provide screens for the game next time I go to the library, which should be tomorrow or Thursday.
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Title: Spring 2010: An Evaluation
Posted: May 19, 2010 (12:43 PM)
Well, I finally know all my grades now, so I can make that evaluation post I promised a few weeks ago. I'll try to make it brief this time since I already said all the stuff about how it affected me and whatnot in my last post.

HIST 299: Global Issues and Historical Perspectives
Grade: B-

I hated this class with an undying passion so strong that by the end of it, I sorely wanted to tear someone's throat out. My own if no one else's. This class was ridiculous. The only reason my grade is so low is because I averaged a B- on all three of the stupid papers in that class. Though, perhaps not quite as I suspect I just outright failed the last paper because if it were a B- like the rest, I should have gotten a B or B+. Participation was the other quarter of the grade, but the only way he measured that was whether you made a weekly (or, 14 total) news posts in the discussion forum, since, well, he never actually learned our names.

The papers themselves were the most grueling thing ever. He didn't have a page limit, but to get an A you pretty much had to write like 15 pages of analysis. The point of the papers was to compare/contrast two books that were related to each other. Each of the three papers did two books, and these books were all required reading for the class. I, of course, being so busy with my other classes, could only manage to actually read the books for the first paper all the way through, and even then I got a B- on the paper, so I just resigned myself to fate after that.

Oh yeah, and... The professor's lectures were boring as hell; I think there were only two or three times where I didn't nod off to sleep at some point during the class period. Also, his essays were very specific as he gave us a very detailed and through prompt, and as I wrote the bulk of my papers in the course of a night (again, being too busy with other classes), I likely didn't have enough time to consider EVERY POSSIBLE DETAIL that he would've liked to see.

HIST 300E: South Asia
Grade: A

Ironically, this was the class I wanted to drop at the beginning of the semester. The reading load for this class was intense, but several weeks into the semester he cut it down mercifully because he gathered we weren't actually reading it all and so thought it best to ask. Even then, though, it was still intense, and by this point, I was so far behind with reading for everything that I only read what I needed to in order to prepare for tests, papers and whatever else. Still, I'm quite pleased with myself as I somehow managed to rock tihs class hard. The only grade I got that was lower than an A was for the book review thing I had to write. And as I'd never written an academic book review before, I'm quite pleased with myself, since, well, the grade on that was a B. It was also only 10% of the grade, so a slightly low grade there wouldn't have mattered as much.

HIST 334: the Vikings
Grade: A

This was a class I probably had the most fun with. Its subject matter I found to be inherently interesting, so I never really found it boring. However, towards the end of the semester, I did find it starting to get a bit wearing since there were a lot of things due during the last two weeks (three or four at least... most of them papers). The research paper, which I had to write during the last week or two of that semester, was the most challenging. I will say, though, that I rather enjoyed writing the other papers, especially since she let us be more creative or interpretive with them. Particularly during the last part of the semester, I had the opportunity to write a fake saga and also to analyze the movie How to Train Your Dragon for historical accuracy. (And yes, I know it's silly as hell to choose that movie for the project, so don't criticize me or the professor for the idea. It actually was the class's idea as a whole; she just considered it. Further, she gave it as an alternative to taking the last quiz/test, which would have been much more 'real'). I think she did it just to give us something fun to do instead of having to worry about something unbelieably difficult. Same thing with the saga - she had it as a second option to the more 'real' paper in which you'd have to determine what it was to be a Viking and describe and explain why three individuals in history fit that persona. See, she, unlike most professors, knows we have a lot of other classes to consider as well and so didn't want us to be overwhelmed.

Besides, the research paper and project that went along with it was the genuine academic challenge, and it was a very difficult one at that.

Anyway, other fun things we did in that class involved rune casting one day when we were discussing the subject of runes. And another, about a week before the last week of classes, we played a Viking game (supposedly) called Kubb. Basically the goal is to throw sticks at the other team's blocks and knock them down. After all the opponents blocks are knocked down, you can knock down the king without losing. The game can be quite painful sometimes, though, as the wooden sticks would often bounce and so often found contact with people's shins or knees. One nailed me in the knee real good, and I still feel like the bruise is there even though it's no longer visible, as it hurts whenever I press on it. Though, to be completely fair, I have to press kind of hard now to feel any pain from it anymore, which means it's largely gone. Still, though, I take pride in my injuries for some reason, at least ones that likely won't cause permanent damage.

PLSC 200C: Contemporary Political Issues
Grade: A-

I actually fully expected some sort of B in this class, too, but I guess I rocked the final really hard (I actually got a 94) so my grade at the end averaged to an 89.8%, as my professor said. He actually e-mailed me and told me he rounded up to an A- because he felt it better fit my capabilities, so I thank him dearly for that, especially since that class was very challenging (if interesting) to start with.

This was the class in which my group (and by association, me) got punished for our presentation because we inadvertently included research from the book, which he distinctly said he didn't want. Our paper for it turned out well, though, but because of the mistake in the presentation, the total grade got knocked down to an 85/100 whereas it would've been a 95 otherwise.

I also had only gotten about an 89 on the midterm, so I fully expected a B+ or something in that class. I'm very grateful it turned out as well as it did though, especially since the reading for that class was insane as well, though, it would've been manageable if I'd been taken five courses instead of six.

PLSC 325: American Foreign Policy
Grade:: A

I had a lot of fun in this class, too. It was unbelievably interesting, and the professor teaching it had spent much of his life working for the Foreign Service, so he had a lot of practical experience from which to draw, and that made things extraordinarily fascinating. The papers were fun to write in that class, especially since they dealt with contemporary (or near-contemporary) issues, and the tests were multiple choice, so even though I was grossly unprepared for the final, I managed to get an A on it because of good guessing. (Well, that's not entirely true... He also curved the tests, so my grade turned into an A after curving. It would've been a B otherwise... same with the midterm).

That's a class I'm really glad I took. Gave me a good perspective of the world, or a better understanding of how the US government interacts with the world, which is... pretty stereotypical. THe class really made me think about this country's direction in some ways. It's just... sad sometimes.

PLSC 343: Latin American Politics
Grade: A

This was another class I'm glad I took. It wasn't as fun as the other two that I liked, but it was still interesting. I feel like I learned a lot about the region, and, like with the previous class, I learned to really dislike a lot of America's policy stances since I really feel like it was largely our fault why many of these countries had brutal dictatorships for as long as they did. Besides that, though, it was interesting to see how the countries themselves think of each other and the world, and also to see how their own politics plays out and why. It involved a lot more than just what we did over there, after all.

The papers for that class were probably the most irritating, though I'm glad I got As on them anyway. The final was a paper, too, effectively, which I found stressing, but glad I did well on it. That's alright, though. Like I said, I feel like I learned a lot about that region, especially Mexico, which was the country our group presented on (and thus the country the paper had to be on as well - though not the final... that was a comparison of democratic development in two countries over a period of 100 years. The paper for the presentation just wanted us to look at the current state of democracy in that respective country).
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Title: Well, it's over
Posted: May 10, 2010 (11:28 PM)
The hardest semester of my entire college existence has finally ended. It was the most challenging, most draining, most oppressive and busiest semester of all, but I finally got through it. I think I pulled more all-nighters (or close enough) this seemster than all previous semesters combined. I dealt with the course material as best I could, and readily admit to becoming overwhelmed early in the semester. So much so that I fell irreparably behind in terms of the reading material for my classes. But that's OK because that time wasn't wasted; it was just spent working on papers and more important things that are actually worth a grade. However, to be completely fair, I will also admit that this has been the most difficult semester to deal with managing my time. I've never had such difficulty before where I found myself getting hopelessly distracted for one reason or another (emotional (dis)stress, not feeling well, a sense of being overwhelmed, being burnt out; any number of factors contributed really and all had to be dealt with at some point or another). At times, it was as if my brain were 'coping' with the stress by heavily procrastinating, which, of course, makes no sense whatever, but neither does the mind sometimes.

Anyway, suffice to say, the huge burden and stress put on me this semester at least hasn't had any serious consequences that I know of. My grades are still good. I only know three right now but I can reasonably predict the others. I won't get straight As like I always do, but I'll be close. I should have only one class where my grade is less than flawless, and that would be this dreaded history course that I will discuss later in the post. Ironically, this was not the course that I wanted to drop earlier in the semester. That one I wound up excelling in, hilariously enough.

A further word on the reading requirements (generally speaking): some may view my inability to keep up as laziness, and in some regards, perhaps it was, but even if I were in top form with regard to time management and I could have handled all the other more important projects in a more expedient manner (although I really did try to get them done as quickly as possible...), I still would not have been able to keep up wiht the reading. Most of my classes required about 50-150 pages of reading a week, which is inhumane when taking six of them. There's no way one person could handle such content without exploding or sleeping, and it's even more tasking to ask someone such as myself who has a visual disability that more than likely reduces my reading speed tremendously. There has to be a line somewhere, and this semester, I just had to put my foot down and tackle what was most important. Thankfully, the strategy worked. Thankfully also I appear to be intelligent enough to the point where I can rely mostly on my notes for the most part when reviewing for tests. Papers are another matter, but I'll talk about that later.

Suffice it to say, this semester could have turned out a lot worse. I'm just glad it didn't.

Now I get to go home tomorrow and relax, finally. Hopefully I can write some reviews or whatever. I dunno. I spent some time with my friends today and it was nice. Went out to eat at this Persian / Mediterranean restaurant and the food was amazing. Then we played some games together and had some fun that way. It was nice. I haven't done something like that in a while, so it served as a nice release from all this stupid finals and stuff.

Anyway, now I need to pack, but I think I'll just sleep and wake up around 6. Since this post is so long, I'll do an evaluation of my classes like I do every semester once I get all my grades back, which... could take a while from what I've seen so far.

In the meantime, I'll leave you wiht one more thing:

Goals of the Summer:

Write more reviews

Get in shape (I'm not fat; I'm just not fit. Not having any time for much else besides school this semester basically meant I had to cut out karate, so...)

Spend more time with my friends

Have fun

Relax

There's probably a few others in there that I have but really... I just need a freaking break.
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Title: Way to go
Posted: April 27, 2010 (06:47 PM)
Challange V has apparently vanished from all existence. Or at least the results topic has. Funny, too, since Jason had seemed upset at the idea of keeping the thing around and yet it's the more useful topic that gets lost. I thought the results topic had been preserved? If it had, it sure didn't last very long! Honestly... it can't take more than ten seconds to preserve topics. Granted, I'm not staff, but it just seems silly to me.

Of course, this happens right around the time I finally remember to ask sportsman to archive the stuff... *sigh*

Will, do you happen to have the results saved somewhere? You were the one compiling, and you seem like one to keep these things around in case something like this happens. If you could put them together again and make another topic, I'd be very grateful.

Man, I can't stand losing bits of history like this. Contests and RotWs are the only things I ask to be preserved around here. I'm sure I'm not the only one in favor of the idea.

Anyway, I feel bad about primarily attacking Jason here, especially since he does a lot for the site already. Really, the blame is shared by all staff with the power to preserve these topics. If neither Jason (because he's busy) nor EmP (because he was sick) could have preserved it (and any other topics, for that matter), then there are at least three other staff capable of doing it. I don't see why the two most active staffers have to constantly be the ones to tackle everything all the time. I mean, Jason and EmP are only two people, after all; sometimes things get missed, or things come up and one has to step aside for a while.
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Title: WQ's top 10 pet peeves
Posted: April 18, 2010 (07:59 AM)
*Note: Most, if not all, of these don't apply just to the internet. Furthermore, none of these apply to specifically one person, so if you think any of them are about you, then it's probably not JUST about you. Really these are directed towards habits more than the people committing the habits, so relax... well, sort of. =P

1: If I'm talking to you, don't leave without warning. That's really, really annoying. To me, it's like the same courtesy as if you're talking to your friends on the phone. People don't just hang up without so much as a by-your-leave, why o so here? If it's a computer issue, then, fine, there's nothing that can be done about that, but at least explain as much. Interestingly, this issue never occurs in real life (i.e. on the phone or in person). I assure you some of my RL friends I talk to on AIM do this, too.

2: If someone gives you feedback, acknowledge it in some shape or another. At the very least, say 'thanks for taking the time to do this.'

3: On that note, any act of generosity done unto someone else should be met with gratitude instead of ignored.

4: More on that note: if anyone asks for their opinion on something - and I don't just mean here - then give it, especially if that person specifically requested it from you. (i.e. Zig's contest comes to mind... almost no one requesting specific reviews left feedback for them once they were written).

5: Don't say you're going to do something and then not do it. If something comes up, then that's fine, but as with point 1, explain as much please. That is, explain to the person whom it concerns should a person be involved.

6: If you're having a bad day, feel free to whine and complain about it to me, but don't snap at me, either. I only want to help.

7: I hate when people use elevators to go down flights of stairs, especially in buildings where there aren't many elevators and there's only 15 minutes to get to class. What's wrong with you people? Walking DOWN the stairs isn't nearly as difficult as walking up them. (Yes, I'm fully aware of the pseudo-hypocrisy of this sentiment). I feel really bad for handicapped people in these situations.

8: Why am I the one who seems to be trying to stay in contact / get together with all my real life friends?

9: If you're standing in line, pay attention when the line is moving or else I'm going to cut in front of you and not feel any remorse for it at all. I hate waiting in line.

10: Why the hell am I procrastinating? I hate procrastinating. It makes my life a lot more difficult and makes me a lot grumpier and crabbier in the morning.

Note 2: Even though these are in a numerical order, that does not necessarily represent the order in which I like theses things lease. In other words, this does not necessarily represent a "greatest to least" or "least to greatest" set of botherances. I just put numbers to them to make it look more organized.

Note 3: I'm well aware of the fact that even I violate some of these things myself despite hating them. Thus, I often get frustrated with myself when I do. Part of the point of posting this is to try and remember these things so I don't act against my own beliefs.

Now, I'm going to try and right this stupid paper for this stupid class due stupid Thursday because I really freaking hate this class. God. I didn't think I'd hate this class as much as I do, but the professor is so dull and the material is really too complicated for just sitting there and listening to him preach all day. It doesn't help that in order to right these stupid analytical papers contrasting two of the books we read, we have to, you know, read the books. Which, since I've been so busy with getting other papers and shit done, I haven't been reading anything since midterms. Screwed am I yes I am, especially since in order to write these papers well, you basically have to write 15-30 pages of stuff... which is worse than most research papers. God.

Ironically, this isn't the class I was considering dropping earlier in the semester. In fact, I'm doing quite well in that class much to my surprise. Freaking hilarious.

Title: Gamefaqs Character Battle: FINALE!
Posted: March 21, 2010 (11:35 AM)
....is a joke.* It's the same thing every year with the Nintendo fanboys and Final Fantasy VII fanboys masturbating to their favorite Link or Cloud. I wish they'd just retire these mainstream characters altogether, especially Link since he wins EVERY SINGLE YEAR (with the exception of that time L-Block one, which I found both refreshing and hilarious).

I like that they decide to put joke or underdog characters in occasionally, especially since they have potential to vary the results. But it really usually amounts to nothing anyway because the final four usually, with some varying degree of exception, come down to: Link vs. Cloud vs. Sephiroth vs. Mario. It's so annoying that it makes me wonder why I bother paying attention to this nonsense anymore.

I was quite pleased to see that Charizard made it to the quarter finals this year, but my hopes really end there. The whole contest is largely a predictable joke; it's a wonder they don't have more than one winning bracket entry every year.

I think I should enter this contest at some point. I'd probably win. God.

* EmP's not here right now, so I thought I'd run a "rant about random things" in his honor. He'd probably have bitched about this same issue anyway should he have been compelled enough. XD

On a completely unrelated note, I might not be around HG very much because for whatever reason, my laptop won't let me go here anymore. I keep getting an "Oops! This link appears to be broken. (DNS error)" message for some reason despite the fact that everyone else - even the school computers I'm using now - can access teh site just fine. I may have a virus or something. NO idea. Might have Tech look at it tomorrow or whenever I have time, but I'm a bit wary of that because I only have about 100 pirated games on there (mostly just ROMs, that they likely won't find, but still).

Maybe I'll just delete the one torrent I downloaded... I felt kind of bad for doing it anyway (it was PC Baldur's Gate from like 1998). Hell, I might even have that game at home somewhere so downloading it might not have been as intuitive as I thought. (Though I am grateful to my friend for showing me how to use that stuff in the first place.)

But yeah; if I'm not around as often as I usually am, that's why.
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Title: Well, this is particularly worrying...
Posted: February 17, 2010 (06:35 PM)
I just did a group presentation for this political science that's essentially studying game theory (without all the math). The problem, as it turns out, is none of the five of us (including myself) really read the book that discusses all this stuff because we're all rather busy. What we had done was look through the index to see what sort of articles and topics were discussed there to try and avoid repeating anything in the book, since the professor didn't want us rehashing any studies that were in the material we were supposed to have read.

Well, the index, being an index, isn't completely useful... So when we did our presentation (the subject was Nature vs. Nurture in Ultimatum Games), one of the key articles we presented was... a rehashing of something in the book. And worse, it was a rehashing of something on the 20th page of said book. Somehow none of us caught it... but, then, none of us really read it. So while the nature part of the presentation was good, the nurture part, which consisted entirely of that article, was not.

This is particularly worrisome because this really isn't something we need right now... We do have a chance to redeem ourselves through the group paper. I think we're just going to discuss the nature aspect of it and probably dig up a few more articles. The paper needs to be about 10-15 pages, but since it's a group paper, we only need to write 2-3 pages each. Granted, at least in my case, since I felt pretty useless throughout the whole thing (my articles weren't used for the presentation at all since they were basically rehashes of concepts in the book as well), I have no idea what to do. I'm sure we'll meet with each other during the weekend or something to try and work something out, but... still. I have a feeling that even if we do do really well on the paper, we'll still get marked off considerably for that screw up during the presentation. Suffice to say, I doubt we'll get an A for the project.

There is one plus side to this, however. Because it's so early in the year, it's probably good that we messed up when we did because it'd look really bad if we had messsed up later in the semester when we really were supposed to have had this read. Also, the project is only 20% of our grade, 10 for the paper and 10 for the presentation, so even with a lower grade, there's still a chance to get an A in the class.

However, the problem with this, at least for me, is that I have a million other papers and midterms to write and study for. And since working on this paper about Rwanda for my American foreign policy class, I've gotten woefully behind in the reading for all my classes. But even if I were caught up, I'd still have issues...

Next Friday I have a history paper due... for that India class I had considered dropping (and still consider dropping... depending on how things go.., though if things go really sour in this political science class I may just drop that one instead). Furthermore, I have about 2 papers due during the first week of march, and virtually all my midterms (about 4-5) during that week as well. I can't possibly catch up with reading and studying for all of them, especially not when I have papers to worry about. So yeah, I think I can safely say that at least so far this semester, I am certifiably fucked, and not in a good way.

....now watch me BS five As oout of my ass. Even if I really don't feel like that's going to happen right now.

P.S. No idea what this'll do for the Challange. I warned about this ahead of time, though, so I can't feel all that bad if I don't show (of course, I will anyway). I'll probably at least try, especially since I might need a break or something by that point. I dunno. If I do anything at all, I'll probably try my damnedest to write a quick review for practice's sake. Sometimes those turn out really well. =/
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Title: Year in Review: 2009
Posted: February 01, 2010 (11:20 PM)
Why, may you ask, is someone who wrote only 8 reviews doing one of these now? The answer is 2 fold:

Firstly, my head hurts and I have nothing better to do for an hour before going to bed. It's too hard to focus on reading for school anyway, and I only managed to read one lousy chapter for one class. Oh well.

Secondly, let's just say Will inspired me, I guess. I wasn't going to bother this year since I only wrote eight, which is why I hadn't done it by now, but I figured, why the hell not.

With that said, I don't expect much from myself this year, either, with how busy I am, but if I can beat last year, I'll be happy.

God of War January 27
Hits: 338
Feedback topic

I'm quite pleased with how this turned out. It's probably one of my better reviews all year, which might not be saying much, but still. I believe I placed fifth in the individual line up of Challange IV with this, and it also helped lead my team to second place. Probably one of the best contest results I've ever had.

Zombies Ate My Neighbors March, 21
Hits: 431
Feedback topic

Entered this in the Magical Mystery Tournament that True and Felix conjured up. It was an awesome idea to say the least. Anyway, the review didn't turn out as well as I would have liked, especially considering I had pretty much free reign to review whatever I wanted. (Well, that technically isn't true; my color restricted me to retro stuff, but since I was in a retro mood at the time, that hardly mattered.) Anyway, it's not an awful review by any means, but it's not great, either, but that's alright. I think I placed around 9th in that tourney, which wasn't too surprising considering. The game was kind of hard to write about anyway.

Mother May, 04
Hits: 560
Feedback topic

I entered this in Lewis' Pretentious Bastards competition. Despite writing it fairly last minute and with finals and papers to worry about at that time, I'm very pleased with how well it turned out. In fact, I'd say it's probably my best "review" of the year despite not really being a review (as the point of the competition was to make an intellectual argument dealing with something in the gaming industry using the game as support... not necessarily reviewing the game itself). I placed second there, which was the best I've ever placed in any contest ever, and really makes me think that maybe I should just write reviews for contests like these from now on. hahaha.

Just kidding. The review turned out so well, I think, not only because the game lent itself well to to the argument I was trying to make, but also because the game was so... bizarre and out there that I could sort of "pseudo-review" it by illustrating some of the goofiest elements while at the same time backing up my thesis.

EmP also awarded this one RotW in what was probably the last week he ever did for the year. I'm glad I turned it in on time. =D

Kouryuu Densetsu Villgust Gaiden June, 13
Hits: 257

Yeah... I'd almost rather not talk about this one at all. haha. Long story short, I wrote this with the last two hours I had left in Spain, so it was very rushed. As a result, it suffered terribly in MOTO2, where I was teamed up with EmP. The review did so poorly that I wound up tying for last place (I think), or, at the very least, wound up second-to-last, which was the worst I've ever performed in any contest since Alphas VI where I entered my Age of Empires review.

Basically, the review reads liked a rushed rehash of my Mother review only structured as a proper review instead of something pretentious. There's nothing else to say about it, really. I consider it to be the worst review I wrote all year, and I still feel ashamed for letting EmP down whether my failure really bothered him or not.

Psychonauts July, 28
Hits: 267
Feedback topic

Not the most flattering feedback... I think Zipp's the only one who really liked the thing, which is cool, but underwhelming as he's just one person. I don't mind, though, since I pretty much just forced this one out in an unsuccessful attempt to try and get myself to write more. I took a more academic approach to the review, which might explain the largely negative feedback, so it might've been better suited for something like Lewis' contest. Still, I wanted to try something a bit different, so I'm happy enough with it, and that's all that really matters.

Half-Life 2 September, 05
Hits: 346

Probably one of my better reviews of the year, which again isn't really saying much since I didn't write that many, but still. It was a nice morale booster after I wrote it, since I legitimately felt it was actually pretty good, which was a feeling I really needed at that point as my last two efforts really didn't leave a good impression at all on me, and I was starting to wonder if I'd lost my touch somehow. Anyway, I'm happy with the review, and most people I spoke to said they either liked it or thought it was pretty awesome. Lewis begrudgingly gave it RotW but not before complaining about the sudden disappearance of a certain other review that almost no one else would have awarded a win to. Still, Lewis' opinions of the thing didn't really bother me as he was probably one of the few people who didn't like my review. And besides, I still won with it, so who cares, right?

Cutie Suzuki no Ringside Angel October, 09
Hits: 121

A review I had to write for EmP & Boo's Because We Hate You contest. It's a game I ordinarily wouldn't write for, especially since it features female wrestling, which, Japanese or not, I find degrading. Therefore, I toyed with the idea of torturing EmP and Boo with a feminist critique of the genre as opposed to an actual review, but decided to spare them that hell for several reasons. The main reason I refrained from this was because I truly felt in my heart of hearts that EmP chose the game for me to push my boundaries more than anything else, and that kind of sentiment is really quite appreciated.

Anyway, the review didn't fair too well, but that didn't bother me this time (unlike last year) since you know, it's a review about a genesis wrestling game. For serious. What else should I expect? Hilariously enough, I received almost the exact same scores from the two judges as last year, the only difference being that EmP scored mine one point lower than my Musashi review last year. Bahaha.

Anyway, the contest turnout was rather depressing... and that makes me sad, especially since it seriously diminishes - if not eliminates - the chance of it being held again (unless someone else does it). But with what I've been seeing lately of contest turn outs, it's really amazing we manage to hold any at all anymore. =/

Vay December, 28
Hits: 117
Feedback topic

I wrote this for the alphas, and since this seemed to be the most interesting game starting with the letter V, I chose it. Of course, Suskie's review for the same contest two years ago inspired me to learn how to access Sega CDs so I could play this game. I didn't hold much hope for being able to write a better review than he did, but I at least tried to give a different perspective, since there were some things I felt he missed despite his fantastic writing. Anyway, I was having trouble writing this one as well... largely due to the writer's block and lack of motivation - or whatever it's been - that I've pretty much been experiencing since I wrote that Kouryuu review, although I honestly don't think that review's the cause of my problem - I'd sooner blame school for it. I just hope I can get back into things at some point or another. Maybe this summer will give me another chance.

Anyway, that's it for me. Took an hour to write this so now I'm tired. Headache feels a bit better for some inexplicable reason, though, so I guess I can't complain. Good night people.
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Title: I'm strongly thinking about dropping a class...
Posted: January 25, 2010 (11:01 PM)
but I really need to consider all the options before deciding.

The class I'm considering is this Topics in World History class, which is a 300 level course. The professor I signed with decided to focus on Indian history because that's his specialty (I assume; I haven't taken him before, but he does seem very knowledgeable of the subject).

The thing is, it's only been a week taking basically 6 300-level classes, and I already want to rip my hair out. I say "basically" because one of them is a 200-level (299) course, but the way it's being taught is like a 300-level course, so it may as well be.

Anyway, the biggest problem I'm having now is with the insane amount of reading I have to do. And since they're all 300 level classes, I can't just blow it off like I did with some of my 100-level classes last semester. I've recently calculated that I'm reading about 100-250 pages a night for all my classes, and since I only read an average of 20 pages an hour, this is just something I can' handle. Yes, my reading speed is dreadfully slow, but I can't skim read or anything like that and retain the necessary information. I have enough trouble retaining information reading at my pace. I'm not sure why I'm so slow - maybe it has to do with my vision issues - but there's really nothing I can do about it.

To break down the insane level of reading, I'll give a summary of what I had to read for my three-most reading heavy classes:

For tomorrow, I read two chapters in a book about social revolutions. Each of these was about 60 pages for a total of 120 pages. I read them over the course of yesterday and today. Each one took about 5 hours. I'm not lying.

For Wednesday, in this India class, I have to read two chapters in two different books that he wants us to buy despite the fact that he didn't order them at the bookstore. Each of these is between 30-40 pages. I also have to read a chapter in yet another book, which I already have, that's about another 30 pages. Fortunately, I read this already. And yes, that's like 80-90 pages right there.

For this weekly class on Wednesday, I had to read about 100 pages of material. Thankfully, this is a weekly class and I can spread it out over the course of the week, which I succesfully managed to do. However, on top of these other two classes, it becomes a grave annoyance, since all I want to focus on are these two classes.

My Vikings class will probably have a lot more reading down the road, but so far it's been manageable. It's also actually interesting, so I don't mind too much.

The rest of my classes are thankfully much lighter. And in the case of my Latin American politics one, I've stopped reading altogether because that's the only class I think I can afford to blow off.

So anyway, as you can see, I'm essentially stuck reading an inordinate volume of material that I can't sensibly manage throughout the course of the semester. I mean, I have no idea how I'll be able to fit papers in there on top of everything else...

So, the point, I need to weigh the pros and cons of dropping this India class.

Pros:

1) If I drop the class, I will have a manageable course load and therefore won't die of a brain aneurysm halfway through the semester. Seriously; if I'm complaining about my schedule this early in the semester, then I know I won't be able to handle all this without going insane.

2) The sheer volume of material I'm trying to absorb is seriously affecting my ability to absorb that material. There's just so much that I can't retain it all, and I'm very liable to get things mixed up between classes, especially if I can easily find myself making connections between them. Because of this inability to learn everything I should from the reading, not only does it make reading effectively pointless, but come test time, it'll seriously affect my grade. Not just in the India class, but in my other classes as well, since trying to focus on one class will severely limit my capabilities in the others.

3) In the case of the India class, I literally know almost nothing about the region in question. So in reading the material, I'm finding that I not only need to understand the general history of the region, but I also need to understand all the conceptual aspects such as tying all the social, political and economic contexts together. If at least had a basic knowledge of the region, I'd have a much easier time with the higher standards expected of me in a 300-level class that isn't necessarily going to focus on general background knowledge.

4) Before any of you (not that any of you would...) say, "Stop whining! It's just reading!", let me add that this "just reading" is taking up most, if not all, of my time. This means that when I have to write six papers and study for six midterms at the same time halfway through hte semester, all this reading will be pushed back or completely ignored all together. And catching up will be extremely difficult, if not impossible.

Cons:

1) If I drop the class now, I'm not sure how it'll look on my transcript, especially since I think the period for swapping into a new class is over. And even if it isn't, it's been a week, so catching up in a new class would be difficult (if there even is one).

2) I've already bought most of the books for this class, which rounded out to about $170 for that class alone. Furthermore, the bookstore's full refund policy has passed since that only applies to the first week of school.

3) This is the first class I've seen where I have to write an academic book review for one of the texts we have to read. This assignment is part of the history portfolio required for graduation. I'm not sure whether any future history courses I take will have me write a book review. I suppose I could theoretically get it done if I could get back into this class next year, but this is only a possibility as the course listings change each semester. Besides, I'll likely be very busy next year as well, so I might not be any better off handling it then either. Now, I've heard that as far as the portfolio goes, the department only really uses it to determine whether any improvements need to be made in the program, so if I don't have one of the required assignments in there, then I can go without and explain I'd never been given a book review as an assignment in a course. However, I don't know if this really works if I willingly withdraw from a course that actually has the assignment. I'll ask about this later.

4) If I drop this course and can't find (or handle) a substitute, I'm going to have to take 6 courses next semester / year anyway, and might just wind up in the same boat anyhow, especially if I'm planning on interning in the fall or something.

5) I still have to take one more writing intensive class for the College of Arts and Sciences next year. If I'm forced to take 6 classes during one of my senior semesters, and/or if one of my classes is that India class again, then I'm either going to have to struggle to find a writing intensive course in the "lighter" semester, or else just deal with yet another oppressive workload. If I'm faced with the latter, there'll be almost no point in dropping this course now.

6) If I withdraw, I'm going to have to live with the shame of having withdrawn from a course. Not only will I feel my own guilt, but others might think poorly of me as well for this choice. But really, if I do make this choice, it's for my own best interests, specifically my mental health and grades. And when I say "grades", I mean in the sense that I don't want them suffering because my course load is so heavy that I can't do everything required to keep them up. However, I'm a bit concerned that withdrawing will make me appear as if I'd rather just avoid the challenge. But I assure you, this isn't the case at all. I'd gladly tackle this class if I were only taking 4 or 5 classes with REASONABLE reading assignments, but 6 courses and 250 pages a night is just too much.

*sigh* Well, I realize this is obtrusively long, but I need to lay it out. But to anyone patient enough to read through all this, I'd greatly appreciate your advice. It should be noted, though, that while there are more cons than pros, and therefore I should "logically" keep the course, I do value my mental health and grades more than money and reputation (which grades are a part of anyway). Therefore, the most important negative to dropping the course is the fact that I'll be stuck with six down the road anyway and might possibly end up here again.

Anyway, thanks for any advice you all can give me. I feel really bad even talking about this, or even seriously considering it. I've never had to drop before, even when I thought I couldn't handle things. I mean, I feel like I whine like this every semester, but I've always been fine. But even so, it's never been this bad before, and it's never been so soon before, either. Usually when I whine about school, it's a result of wondering how I did on a test or something, not over my ability to handle the coursework.

Anyway, thanks again.

Title: I hate dictionaries
Posted: January 24, 2010 (12:47 PM)
They almost always force you to look up some other form of the word because the definition they gave you includes the word itself.

For example:

fungible:
n.
Something that is fungible - usually used in plural

Gah! Gee, tha6nks a lot, dictionary. That's the most useful definition ever! Now I have to look up the adjective!

Granted, in this case, I was looking for the adjecttive anyway, but the noun form appeareed first, so I read that instead.

It's just annoying sometimes how you need to look things up twice, essentially, to get the actual meaning of a word.
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Title: This has been the best and worst Christmas... at the same time
Posted: December 28, 2009 (12:15 PM)
When I went to my grandparents' house to visit my dad and celebrate Christmas stuff there (early), I got to see both the Nutcracker and Blue Man Group as gifts from my grandma. These were awesome, especially since I'd never seen them before. While I've admittedly never really gotten into theatre, I do appreciate the art form and respect those who do it. I found the performance of the Nutcracker interesting and was amazed by the complicated dance maneuvers both men and women performed.

Blue Man Group stunned me even further, though their style is completely different. For those who don't know (I didn't when I saw them), they're a musically-oriented comedy show, and they're amazing. They're primarily drummers, but they can do things that I never really thought imagineable. I mean, really; they drummed the intro to Crazy Train on a piece of PVC pipe.

Anyway, those things were awesome, and also spending time with my family was nice. I saw the Nutcracker with my cousins, whom I rarely see anymore. I saw Blue Man Group by chance with my brother; I originally wasn't going to see it with them since it was meant to be his gift (mine was the Nutcracker) and also scheduling issues, but things worked out. I'm glad he was able to see it, though, especially since he's hardly ever able to see my dad anymore due to his job.

Christmas here with my mom and stepdad was alright. Quiet and uneventful, but it was nice and not really dramatic, which was good. I really prefer things to just be quiet here anymore anyway since when they're not, it's usually bad.

The bad news comes around then, though... Before I left to see my dad, my stepdad had been trying to call the vet to put the dog down since she was really sick and hadn't eaten anything for four days. When I got home, she was gone, which... was really expected, but still sad.

Then I learned that my great aunt died of cancer a few days ago... I'm OK now, I guess (this'll probably change at the funeral/wake tomorrow / Wednesday), but she was really close to me, which is probably unusual for great aunts, but I dunno. I guess she'd become sort of like a grandmother to me after grandma died years ago, despite not really seeing her that often.

And my mom apparently needs knee surgery, but that's not life-threatening and compared with these other things, it's hardly something I'm concerned with (well, I am, but... you know what I mean, I hope).

*sigh* I dunno. Life sucks sometimes I guess.

In other news, I finally finished that review I'd meant to finish weeks ago, but didn't because like everyone else around here (except schultz, haha) I've got that writer's block thing, and school's probably affected my desire and ability to write for fun more than I would have liked.
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Title: Last semester: Breakdown
Posted: December 18, 2009 (07:22 PM)
Well, I finally got my grades, and at least two of them were better than I expected. The rest I either fully expected or grew to expect out of later performances during the semester. Anyway, I got all As again... with two A-s, but those are about the same thing anyway (although an A- is marked lower than a regular A for some reason). So I guess that should shut me up. I fully expect EmP to say "I told you so" in big bold pretty colors.

But... to put it in perspective, I'll break it down by course.

HIST 299: Junior Colloquium:

This was a very challenging course that required me to write three 5-7 page papers based on the primary and secondary sources we had been reading in that class. Basically we had to write a "synthesis" of that particular topic's reading materials (of which there were three topics during the semester, with several readings to choose from) and make the best argument for that topic based on the material. The professor wasn't looking for any "right" or "wrong" asnwers - he wouldn't be a good professor otherwise - but rather to see if we could make good historical arguments through condensing large quantities of material. The most challenging aspect of the course was the insane amount of reading I had to do each week. Since the class met only once a week, there was a lot of stuff... between 50-100 pages (sometimes more) a week. And he gave these short ten point quizzes over the reading, so we couldn't blow it off. Though I am glad for that since it made it easier to write the papers.

This class was an A, which was expected.

HIST 300D: Topics in U.S. History:

Although it was a general topics course, which I generally don't like as a concept, I knew what this one was being taught about and it was also taught by perhaps my most favorite professor at the school. The course itself focused on the Age of Piracy between 1550 and 1725, and also focused on anti-impressment riots and other protest / revolutionary movements later in the 18th century. It was a very in-depth course that required a lot of conceptual understandings... The professor made sure to teach it from a different perspective than the typical "heroic" or "romantic" perspectives you hear about in grade school or on TV. Indeed, I think breaking away from a national perspective - American, British or otherwise - is probably the best way to learn history because it breaks any sort of nationalistic barriers that might create biases towards the evidence and people acting during a time. Instead, what we got was raw, pure history; the kind of history that makes you think, and it was truly an amazing class for that. I probably learned more from this class than any other despite the area being so focused. Not only did I learn about the subject matter at hand, but I also learned more methodological practices such as how to truly incorporate evidence into a history paper or essay as well as properly examining primary and secondary source material. The research paper was tough and challenging, but enjoyable because I just found it absolutely fascinating to read through old primary sources. I suppose that sounds nerdy, haha, but there you go. I think it's cool.

Anyway, because it was so challenging, I realy expected anything in that class from a C+ to an A-, and this was the class I was most anxious about from before. Indeed, my past performances in that class led me to believe I'd receive a grade lower than I'd like because of the fact that on the first two tests, I'd gotten a 78 and 80 respectively. And although I rewrote the first exam for a better grade, he still hadn't graded it any time I'd asked him about it. Also, I have no idea how I did on my paper or final since those we're not supposed to get back until January (they'll be outside his office when we get back (though he keeps them in his office for storage during break)). So that's why I was so anxious - because the first two things I'd done poorly on... and that was like half my grade right there.

Anyway, the final grade turned out to be an A- which is a lot better than I was expecting... (even though it was in that "potential grade" range). I suppose I must have rocked the paper andfinal (plus participation points) to get that grade or something, but I won't kno for sure until next semester.

PLSC 101: American Politics:

I took this class because I'm considering a triple major in political science - or at the very least a minor - to which it's required. Took this with a grad student as an instructor (though I didn't know that when I signed). The class was interesting but very easy, so I really did fully expect the A I got in that class, even though I was just a little bit nervous about the paper and final exam since he didn't (and won't) give them back to us. However, he did let us e-mail him requesting our grades, so I did that and got As on both, unsurprisingly.

PLSC 100: Political Theory:

Like the last course, I took it for a political science requirement. I also took it to fill part of the philosophy core. I also took this with a grad student instructing but didn't know about that until signing up. This class was even easier than the last one, but it still turned out to be interesting, which is good because I truly thought it would be dull as hell with the teachr's teaching style. She basically just read notes at us all period, but I think she caught on after a while, or maybe I adjusted, because she started letting us discuss some of the things we were covering, which made things a lot more interesting. Anyway, I really do respect her outside of any first impressions of her because she really did consider our opinions about her class and consider changes as she saw fit. I respect that a lot and wish more professors / teachers would be more proactive about that sort of thing, or at least appear to be instead of waiting for the course evaluations at the end of the semester. Anyway, I fully expected the A in this class, too, since I got 100 on both papers and 98 on both exams (midterm and fial). I pwned that class and therefore am totally awesome.

PHIL 182: Social & Political Philosophy:

This was a night class, once a week for two and a half hours. I promise you I'm never doing that again. If I can help it. Though I've said such things before. Anyway, the class itself was boring (more or less) and rather depressing since the kind of social/political philosophy we focused on dealt with war. Originally expected a B in this class because I got a 78 on the first exam and calculated that I'd need a 93 on everything else just to get an A-. Fortunately, I did get a 93 (sometimes more!) on everything else, and also did the two extra credit opportunities, which really helped my grade and made me feel more secure about the full A I was expecting towards the middle / end of the semester.

SPAN 251: Advanced Spanish Composition and Conversation II:

I hated this class with a glowing passion, but only because I felt my professor was the most incompetent professor I've ever had during my entire education. The concept of the class itelf was fine - I totally don't mind writing and speaking a lot in a Spanish class, especially not in an advanced one where teh whole point is to hone (or at least maintain) those skills. I found that as a concept, the class was effective, but I just did not like teh professor because she really did seem scattered, and the crap she pulled towards the end of the semester with my group's presentation really pissed me off. Anyway, I fully expected a B in this class because I'd been getting a B all semester, since my original quiz and writing performances weren't that great. That I pulled an A- is amazing, and looking at my grade breakdown, I saw that I really only just scraped the A- by like .89 percentage points.

Overall, this seemster was very challenging and very stressing, but I'm relieved that I managed to do as well - even better - than expected. I'm also glad I managed to learn a lot more than I probably usually do, especially with the history classes, which, as they get harder also seem to get more rewarding, which is nice. Even so, I think a major contributor to my stress and worry was the general course load. Six classes is probably too much... but at least I handled it well enough. Granted, I have to do it again next semester... and next semester they're almost all 300 level classes (except for one that's 299, but it's close enough). So we'll see how that goes, I guess. I expect it to be much more difficult than this semester, but... I'm also not taking as many once-a-week classes, either, so maybe things'll even out despite the intense ramping up of upper level classes. But, well, as long as I don't explode, I guess I'll be fine, haha. Still, I think it's safe to say I'll be busier than ever next semester which will make me very sad, but we'll see how things go.
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Title: Well, this makes me sad
Posted: December 16, 2009 (12:49 PM)
This piece of shit internet connection refuses to log me into the school's network so I can check my grades. ;_; Guess I'll have to try at my grandma's house when I go Friday... *sigh* And I only needed to know two more, too! =(

This sucks because last night I had the most anxious dreams regarding my grades and school in general. They caused me to wake up several times during the night only to fall back asleep and dream the exact same thing over and over again. But of course, me being the perfectionist I am, the anxiety wasn't over failing (that's impossible for me), but for getting a C+ in a class. And also missing the final. I literally woke up this morning thinking I had forgotten to take a final. Hahahaha. It's like Jesus CHrist, brain, I'm on vacation!
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