!w00t! Runescape !w00t!

Hoo boy, two weeks without a new entry. That’s a little rough, and definitely going on my permanent record. I would say things have been busy, but I won’t because:

1.) It’s true, but no one likes the truth
2.) Any excuse is still an excuse, so with that said…
4.) I also ran out of peanut butter
5.) The moon told me not to…
6.) Number 3’s excuse was so lame the number changed, and I bet you didn’t notice.

But man- these two weeks have been crazy am I right?

  • Got a new job at Pepsi
  • ENDGAME
  • I got back into a classic game that was one of my favorites growing up (spoiler, title of this blog :p )
  • ENDGAME
  • I don’t watch it, but I hear Game of Thrones has been doing crazy things again
  • ENDGAME
  • Oh, and Marvel produced their epic conclusion to a saga they’ve been making for over ten years now. What was it called again?

Haaaaa, I’m kidding. The movie was phenomenal, but we’re not here to talk about that! There’s plenty of reviews out there, and my opinions not that unique enough to make a blog about so instead I’m going to move forward with something that has been rekindled so such an amount, I would feel foolish not doing it.

RUNESCAPE

Big name, big game, not the same, as others. It shares the common things as other MMORPG’s but what make it stand out above all the others? And why was it my choice of gaming after so long bringing me back? Well I’m sure it would be a question my dad would even like to know.

As a funny story, back in the day, we had to show the games me and my brother wanted to play, to our parents. They were being cool, we were young, and didn’t want us doing Grand Theft Auto level things, or Gears of War level things, and there was a lot they didn’t know about the internet, so being cautious and compromising was their game. And they were good at it. I, on the other hand, was bad at selling.

I could not present a case for myself to save my life. To this day, I am the king of underselling something. I have left that to greater men and women. People would ask me what my favorite kind of music was, and I would list off bands, and they were all, “ew gross, really? WHY?” and then I was like, “uhh, uhh, because the song is all BAM, and the guitar is like JAM!”

…In college I had to quickly learn the phrase, “eh different strokes for different folks” so I could avoid having to put up a case for my opinion.

And my dad was also intimidating. Just picture Dwayne the Rock Johnson, add hair, a pastoral career, and maybe… fifty pounds and boom my dad! tadaaaa

Easily the epitome of free quests

But I was able to play Runescape, despite how he looked at it, he said it looked boring. To his credit though, I was walking around trying to find out what kind of content to show him, but there was so much, I should have prepared something in advance.

This entry is going to be like a letter to my dad. To explain why I played this boring game so much, why I gave it money, how this influenced my career choice, and what this game is going to involve the future of this blog.

May, 2004. Just off the cuff of releasing their graphical update that will forever stick, Jagex released Big Chompy Hunting. At this time I was being introduced to this new game called ‘Run-escape’, by my friend. At the end of Tutorial Island I was entranced in this unique system of Java based gaming you could play anywhere. The way fighting happened was really cool to me, even though it was A attacks B, then B attacks A, and rinse and repeat. But everything was a skill to earn by your own making, from cooking to fishing, to cutting wood, to making crafts, and mining, and fighting. All of the skills have a symbiotic relationship that one supports the other, (excluding Dungeoneering- a beast of its own.) and with the proper knowledge of locations and monster locations, you didn’t need to buy anything.

Okay maybe you might need to buy a bucket.

This first concept was amazing to me. To earn everything in the game was on you. Yes, this is a basic thing in MMO games, but this was my first, and until this time I was used to playing console games like Crash Bandicoot, and Kingdom Hearts. This game was where I -me- was the adventurer. I could customize this avatar to look how I wanted, try out hairstyles and beard trims that I didn’t have, and have fun with it without suffering consequences.

Suddenly, I was with my friend! We were in the same game and we weren’t in the same room!

But what’s this?

There were hundreds of other people also playing this game! Words were appearing above their avatar heads, they were running around, all looking different, some with noob clothes (like me) to the most decorated player with all the latest armor and weapons. And those weird polygon graphics looked so cool. That was another thing, the armor and weapons you picked up- you wore them! Other games didn’t do that. They didn’t want to take their precious Sora and give him a legit necklace change, bangle, or ring when you equipped it.

My friend began to take me to a cow field where I could train my combat skills to get stronger so we could take on harder enemies like evil wizards, goblins, hill giants, and… dragons! Yes, this game was looking so good to me!

“But Chronic, Lord of the Rings online has all of that, so does Ultima Online, Star Wars KotOR, Ragnarok, Eva, Guild Wars, and least of all: World of Warcraft!”

Yes well all of those games did not have the magical hidden charm Runescape possessed. Why? Because those games were all trying to mimic each other, and say they were better, despite all having the same lifeless avatar, controls, quest-text directive, key-bound ability based combat fighting, and arrow key movement. All of that is fine, in fact I’ve spent my fair share on those games, so I feel I’m safe in making my claims. But, here comes my shade…

They were all BORING!

The NPC’s had no character to them! The quests didn’t feel epic, they felt like fetch quests. The main story-lines were the only good parts. Period.

The two best things I find the most fun in any game are the story, and the exploration. I like a lot of color, and fantasy elements thrown together to make something that I’m not going to see in real life. To see the limits of the imagination challenged and stretched, but not to the point of insanity, and still make sense.

Let’s take two comparisons, Runescape has a large Elven city call Prffindas, and even though Lord of the Rings Online has Elven cities, I’m going to use Minis Tirith because it’s fairer to pit two hub worlds together. Hub worlds I mean you can practice all of your skills in one place. For these two in particular they are highest level in-game content. You have to nearly be maxed out to make to these places, which is awesome, settings goals and providing challenges are what game are for. Graphically it has to be given to LOTRO, the scale is enormous, and it’s a real accomplishment to have visually mastered the image J.R.R Tolkien set out to create.

I think he would be proud and definitely be playing it all day long. And if the game had the rights to create the Westlands, the final resting place fo the Elfs, then maybe… just maybe it may beat out my preference. But it probably won’t because the combination of Jagex’s charm of lovable and charismatic NPC’s, your own characters character, and the unlimited potential on the imagination means they can do much more than Warner Bros. Sadly, for all the things Lord of the Rings did, I also like, and prefer the higher fantasy I get to enjoy with Runescape.

Runescape has the Barrow Brothers, six brothers who died but their ghosts remain. Their skirmish rewards you their armor, which is another visually appealing commodity.

This game also has the God War Dungeons. Four factions time locked in a frozen dungeon and are eternally fighting. Players can shove themselves right in the middle of it all, and make their way to the God representative general, fight them and get a chance to also be awarded a ‘Godsword’ a weapon both practical and impractical.

You can also fish for sharks and those funny Monkfish, but they also make their own aquatic life called Rocktail and Karambwan.

They have so many different colonization of creatures and people. From right and proper Varrok, to the jungles of Karamja, to Feldip Hills with Zogres, to the Death Plateau with rock Trolls, to the valleys of Goblins, the desert of Kalphites, Mummies, and Egyptians, over to swamps and vampires and werewolves, to under ground with the lava dwelling Tok rock beings, and to the far west lands of crystal-house dwelling Elves. And let’s not forget about the gnomes! Those rascals…

It’s a fantasy lovers dream game.

But all of that wasn’t even my favorite part.

It was the quests.

The story. It was the story, and is the story that kept me going, and hooked me back in. The story is, the world of Gielnor has not one but many stories as many creatures as there are. And many are great in length, vivid in detail, smothered with humor, and encounters feel more intimate than any other boss fight other MMORPG’s couldn’t offer.

The community is the icing on the cake. It being a relatively niche environment, the players all have a special brand of pride when they meet outside the game. I met a player on my first day, and only my first day. It was a fun day, but I’ve never seen them again. But with that in mind, it’s a game you can play solo and not feel bored. It’s definitely better playing with friends or other people. No one feels like a stranger on the game, because you instantly have something to talk about: your skill level. And if they have a cool piece of armor or weapon or item, or a cosmetic, or they’re in the same quest as you, you find a special bond.

This one time, I was playing a quest where you have to infiltrate a village of monkeys. and if one of them saw you, they kicked you out, and you had to start over. The quest was hard, they made very few places to hide, and some of those places had snakes attacking you. It got to this part, near the end, where these gorillas were blocking the way to the door, and I didn’t have the combat requirements needed to face them. I needed to defeat them, so I could use what they carried to make a disguise and become a gorilla too, which I needed to finish the quest.

But anyway, there was this guy training on them, and he was like, “You need me to defeat them?”
And I went, “That would definitely help me out”
And he said, “Alright cool”

And he just took care of them! What I needed dropped on the floor, and I picked it up, and was able to finish way under the level a normal player should have been. But that’s why I like them! Most of them will let you in even though you don’t meet their “height requirements” and if you beat them, then you get all the spoils afterwards, and it just might level up your character enough to the right level 😉

There’s a guy on YouTube called Settled playing a hardcore account where he keeps his character in the swamps, and can only stay in there and use whatever he can find to become strong enough to face the hardest challenge, “Theatre of Blood”. So there are people making their own game out of the game, and there are others just coming in to play the game and conquer it like Zezima, the best player historically.

So anyway, dear dad, that is why I love playing Runescape. It’s a game for all player types and more, I didn’t even mention all the minigames like Gnomeball and Castle Wars. Or the devastating Player vs. player action of the Wilderness. I normally stay away from those areas. Mainly because I’m still leveling up after fifteen years of playing. But I level up according to my next quest goal. So I’m working on my level 80 skills now. And yes, I’m playing on the new Runescape 3. I love the Old School, and I love the New School. I can go back anytime and play like I remember, but now that I’m an adult with less time than my teenage self, I like how easy they make the game for those with busy lives. Jagex understood who their audience was, a bunch of kids who grew up and still wanted to play. But they also kept the Old School running, just because there was enough people who liked it that way.

They didn’t have to do that, but they did, because they love us. And that shows. What about you, Blizzard? Lucasfilms? Warner Bros? You guys are looking like you love your wallets a little more than your fans. Just saying…

If it wasn’t for the final point that this game is now mobile, and I can train my fishing while working on papers and blog entries, then I’d have a hard time vouching for this game. I’m grateful the original guys wanted to make a flash game that could be logged into anywhere, and now that the game is on every mobile device, Runescape is up with the current times and hopefully is here to stay for a long long time.

I love this game so much, that a lot of my future posts will be ideas for quests that Jagex can have for free, without even having to give me credit (okay maybe like a private email giving me a thumbs up, followed by a message saying, don’t tell anyone, that would be sweet). I keep a lot of story ideas and honestly, Runescape is a great place where I think one day it would be cool to see them implemented.

So I guess you could say this is the Chronic Shenanigan Syndrome’s first blog goal: Get a Quest on Runescape.

Quest Requirements: Level 99 Writing, Level 99 Charisma, Level 99 Commitment, Level 99 Begging and Pleading, Level 99 Self-Confidence, and need a ball of wool

Rewards: A private email with a thumbs up

Phew! That was a lot of gushing. Alright guys that is all I have to say for this week. I have to get back to fishing for Monkfish so I can finally get sharks (woohoo!). Let me know how you feel about the game, my thoughts, or your thoughts on my thoughts, or your thoughts on the game. If my dad is reading this, then I’m sorry for the lame jokes, and that it took fifteen years to tell you why I like something. Love you!

Cites:

Runescape- https://www.runescape.com
Settled- https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCs-w7E2HZWwXmjt9RTvBB_A

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Shining Force IV- needs you!

I never thought there would be another Crash Bandicoot game for as long as I lived. When the series hit that weird mark of changing his appearance and added some creatures to possess and control, the dear orange marsupial had seen his end. But, much later, when Activision released the remastered trilogy, it made me happy and hopeful again, to see that interest in that icon was around, and not just around, but can still run with the big boys of gaming. It wouldn’t surprise me if Crash or Spyro became a hidden character in Smash Ultimate.

And from the ashes of series-being-reborn, is a resurgence of titles finding remastered life. MediEvil, Spyro, and Ratchet and Clank all saw glorious return-to-basics changes, with Pixar quality graphics, and storytelling, to flesh out the lack of from its early years ( B.T.W., the story of Spyro is a coming of age trial, just my head cannon).

Heck, with the Nintendo Switch, Mario, Link, Kirby, Donkey Kong, Star Fox and eventually Samus are seeing graphical updates, with new games that are making themselves the epitome of their franchise lately. Developers are currently taking a step back and looking at their ancient works to see what they can pull back and revitalize. So, its understandable why people are going crazy and reluctantly getting hopes up for their old favorites they thought were forgotten.

It even helps when said developers from twenty years ago are also interested and they verbally express interest. I bring all of this up to discuss my main idea. A while back, Hiroyuki Takahashi, head of Camelot Software Planning, said he would love to make a Shining Force IV.

What is a Shining Force?

Well, I’m glad you asked!

These… These are a Shining Force.

Back in the day (When I was born), this company called Camelot answered the call to produce an RPG to keep up with the Dragon Warrior, Final Fantasy, and now insane lose-your-unit-forever- craze, Fire Emblem sweeping the NES. What could someone do against three games setting the bar for superior RPG excellence? Should they keep development on their Phantasy Star series? (yes, obviously), would their efforts beat the likes of the NES? Or would it fall to the level of still well known games, but less popularity, like Ultima, or Crystalis?

Enter Sega CD4, Camelot, Sonic! Software Planning. A small team dedicated to making what would be known as the Shining series.

The Shining series started as a dungeon crawler, with units taking turns to use weapons, spells, or items. But after that success it took a brand new route, and went to a strategic, role-playing turn by turn where you had a large (or small) field, multiple units, and grid based movement taking turns to use weapons, spells, or items.

“Okay, Chronic, every other game you mentioned has that!” I hear you saying. Let me finish!

The developers combined the dungeon crawling screen, and the grid-moving action into one, smooth cohesion where you had a bird’s eye view of all your units, and the enemies, and once they collided, it would switch to a more ‘intimate’ view where your character was fully stylized and moving, swing a sword, or firing a bow. It was in this moment that the characters came alive, and they were more than just a little 8-bit collection of miniature figures. Capes waving in the wind, their chest moving up and down from breathing, wings flapping, and feet shifting really added such a depth that the sprites of Fire Emblem kind of did, but not to this extent. So yes, Shining Force raised the bar on style and deliverance of action.

I mean look at the above pictures! I love the scene of the lava below, a magical-glass floor, cliffs on either side, and the sky- blue and innocent above- really shows the clash of light versus darkness in this moment. And for those of you who know this fight, then you know the kind of clash we went up against.

Many of the games, save for Shining in the Ark, and Shining Wisdom, kept this formula, for it twas not broken, and twas not needed to be fixed. Even the games that became portable, and then later ported and remastered had this fighting mechanic. You could even buy stronger weapons, revive lost comrades, and save your game at “bases” (that term would go from a literal base, to a complete town, to just one screen of a town). Some of the bigger games even had town and field exploration. Sonic! Software Planning loved putting in hidden things for people to find, and reward the careful observer, and greater reward the truly insane. You might find a chest only a flying character can reach, or search a barrel for the town exploration to be enhanced, OR if you manage to search a cave wall with no prompt or direction and find a bikini, you could! Or how about walking down the field to fight a wimpy boss, when all of a sudden BAM, rock-head-monsters spawn out of nowhere! Or skeletons with machine guns constantly appearing during the most pivotal fight, and standing on the spot keeps them at bay.

This is all a taste of the gaming experience they produced, I haven’t even went into the Promotion system, the character bonding system, secret characters, difficulty setting, secret naming option, or the Shining story!

Speaking of story, the Shining series kept a lot of their later installments in the same universe. There were branches, and there were time lapses, but for the biggest titles, you could find the mention of Darksol, and Dark Dragon, or follow the family tree of certain important characters.

Sadly, in 1997, when they were developing their widely considered Shining Force 3, the crew was dropped, as Sega focused their attention on the Dreamcast (hilarious, I know). The poor game probably has such a unique and interesting history and renown because of what happened to it, I can’t help but wonder what it would be like if it had been completely released.

Well, after putting that behind them, Sonic! Camelot became friends with Nintendo, and made them many sports games. But, they dipped their toes in RPG again and produced a fantastic series called Golden Sun.

So, it’s 2019, we have an unfinished Golden Sun series, an unfinished Shining in the Ark series, a sporadic Shining Force 3 game, and a myriad of titles stretched across every Sega platform ever crafted.

What are we as fans to do?

We need to tell them.

We need to get together and make one voice of what we want. First of all, a single place where we can get all of our Shining titles, including the missing gems: CD, Wisdom, Ark, and more importantly, working with those making an English patch to re-release Shining Force 3 as a whole.

Next, we need a conclusion to the Golden Sun series. The first two were so great, and the third title is good, but because there’s no immediate sequel, it is severely hurting us to not have a true ending.

And then after all of that, you can hit us with Shining Force IV. A return to Guardiana, a new Belzome, a new Devil, a hero becoming the villain, Camelot, we’ll leave the storytelling to you, because that’s what you’re great at. That one time we’re chasing a false king, and we’re pinched between masked enemies and a neutral territory force?
What about that other time when we have to fight our own father for the princess so we can collect her tears later?
Or that other time we spend an hour trying to cross a land-bridge because of one mechanical eye.
Or that time we’re washed up on shore with no weapons and we have to search through the wreckage to reclaim them?
The hero who doesn’t talk once, the entire game, only to say his party won’t die with him, as he teleports them to safety while he (allegedly) goes down with an ancient city?
A phoenix bird?
A baby dragon?
The sword Chaosbreaker?
…THIS GUY?

WE. NEED. MORE. ARMED. SKELETONS.

Give us your best, because your best is filled with memorable moments from gameplay and story combined. Only Camelot can produce fantasy and sci-fi elements together unlike other RPG games. And there isn’t another game that is going to give us our fix.

Start a Kickstarter! An Indiegogo, or a Fig, we’ll give you our money!

Okay, that’s the end of my rant, but before I go I want to thank Shining Force Central for being the oldest and biggest site for Shining Force lovers. I have followed their work for years, and am super proud to know of them. Also, I am giving the links to all of the sites I used to evaluate where most people stand on what they want. Also the link to Shining Force Central, where you can see what awesome things they’re up to.

Shining Force Central:
https://www.shiningforcecentral.com/?p=home

https://kotaku.com/shining-force-s-brilliant-use-of-geography-and-tactics-1825563927

https://www.resetera.com/threads/camelot-wishes-to-make-shining-force-4-and-other-camelot-and-treasures-tidbits.2030/

http://www.nintendolife.com/news/2017/10/camelot_software_boss_is_keen_to_make_shining_force_iv_a_reality

https://gamefaqs.gamespot.com/boards/189706-nintendo-switch/75941722

https://www.polygon.com/2018/2/21/17035780/shining-resonance-refrain-remaster-ps4-nintendo-switch-xbox-one-sega-release-date-price

http://www.camelot.co.jp/public-wpFIu30X/

I Made A Superman Game!

Not really.

Just the idea. But it’s a good one!

Making a Superman game is hard. Why? Because Superman is an overpowered character. He’s the symbol of hope, and by that theme alone, he is unstoppable. I mean if you read Neil Gaiman’s Sandman series you remember he one an imagery competition by being Hope.

Naturally, the opposite is despair, so Superman needs to fight more existential battles rather than tests of strength. But since personification of that scale is best suited for the Japanese anime culture, we can still use bad guys and magic sticks to make the people of Metropolis (the the universe it lies in) feel despair.

However, I believe I have a good idea for a good beginning. Realize I made this before the 2018 Spider-man game, nearly three years ago in fact, as the Google Docs file tells me.

Enough for my rambling, let’s get on with the show!

First game: Clark Kent growing up in Smallville learning of himself and his powers. He gets to know Earth, and about the morals of good and evil. Makes friends, including Lex Luthor and female friends. Time skip to Clark in his teenage years learning to use his powers in secrecy while balancing a normal life of trying to be a human. After his first successful mission, it time skips to his travels to Metropolis, fully adult and well into his role of being Superman, including having his suit and looking for his job at the Daily Planet. He finally gets his break to reveal himself to the public and while shaky, he saves the day. Then the Superman hype begins. And the beginning of Clark Kent/Superman balancing act begins.

Game play: The method of playing relies a lot on high jumping, fast running, flying, and switching between powers like Batman switches between gadgets. The city has a health bar, not Superman (yes, borrowing this from the Superman 2006 game). And the health bar is contained within the missions, so there is free roaming so the player can enjoy the mechanics of flying around. There can be specific instances superman himself can have a health meter: when the sun is gone, when he is transformed or taken advantage of via magic, Kryptonite will not be introduced yet.

Setting: For the first game it’s mostly small scale, but high in detail to teach the player that superman lives in a cardboard world, and he must try to not break it. Places like Smallville, Metropolis, Gotham, Star City, Jump City, Steel City places he visits mainly as Clark Kent for job missions and personal vendettas are all filled with buildings and people and life.

Presentation: Of course with today’s technology, it’s nothing to make everything look good. The challenge would rely in keeping the balance of great looking graphics, multiple towns, and computer AI people, villains, and enemies to stay looking good, and still have enough depth in the cities and DC universe. Because Superman can be anywhere in no time flat, the machines shouldn’t limit where he can go, and what the villains and Superman should be able to do. And since this is the beginning for Superman, he doesn’t have to be as strong as he will be in upcoming titles. And in speaking of what he can do this may be a drawback, but this first game features a young Superman, which means vulnerable to magic, love, conflicting morals, conflict in making choices of going on a trip with Lois to get a good story, or staying in town to keep Lex from successfully winning the town over by looking like a hero. Nonetheless, he will still be Superman, thus he will have a variety of his powers, eye beams, frost breath, flight, super strength, superhuman speed, and others. And his powers can affect the health of the town. But his powers can also heal and fix the town. Since he is Superman, he can fix a building in a series of mini-games through varies button mashing sessions to earn extra experience, or points, or currency, or fame. If you leave them idle they go to Lex who uses the advantage to make himself look better.

Story: The story as hinted from earlier entries can rely on the relationship of Clark and Lex. Clark goes from being a small-town boy to a big city man with a secret of being a superhero. Lex grows up with Clark and they become friends, but have different worldviews. Those views are what make them grow apart. And later they come back as adults, to Lex, Clark takes a humble route of being a journalist, while he looks to improve Metropolis through force and his secret of underground tactics and under the table handling. Yet, they have an interesting relationship as adults, seeing as Clark is a man of the press and Luthor still holds Clark in some regard as they were friends as kids. Clark uncovers the dark dealings Luthor has been using and plans to take it to light, but Luthor plans to deal with Clark harshly. It is then that Luthor no longer keeps his facade of a do-good citizen but reveals his underhanded plan or controlling the town through force. Superman then takes on Lex, who with an army of robots and his own special suit and realizes the man of steel is unbeatable. It is then revealed that the conspirator that has been helping Lex is none other than Brainiac, who has been analyzing the man in blue since he revealed himself.

Brainiac then takes over Lex’s suit, with the man still in it, and vastly upgrades it. He then turns half of the town into a giant Brainiac-looking war machine that goes to collect everything the town can have to make himself the strong, and then go on to every other town and do the same until the entire world is consumed under Brainiac, and then he will go on to other worlds in the galaxy. Superman in this moment has to save a vast amount of people, in greater numbers, and in faster time than he ever has before. As a building lights up and starts becoming a part of Brainiac, Superman must go through a series of challenges of button mashes to save everyone he can, or stop the mechanics from connecting to a building to begin with. When Brainiac has enough of Superman’s interference, he uses what power he has to bring the man of steel down. Superman quickly learns he can’t completely destroy the building at his current state, and with it being night and the sun intentionally blocked out by Brainiac, Superman must dismantle the giant war machine and then attack the heart of it and take out Brainiac.

Once inside the heart, Superman finds a fusion of Lex and Brainiac. Brainiac is all prepared with the magical Spear of Destiny he found with his extensive knowledge of Earth history. Superman must then fight Brainiac/Lex until it doesn’t look good until Lex takes over for a minute, giving Superman a second chance to turn things around. Defeating Brainiac, he frees Lex and the giant war machines crumbles and the day is officially saved. Lex goes to prison, and Brainiac is kept locked away. The game is finished, but, there is post-game working to do, where you can find the fortress of solitude to give Superman a home away from home. And Metropolis needs to be rebuilt so you can rebuild Metropolis back and earn some great things in doing so.

So, did you like it!? I hope you did, I had fun making it. Tell me how you feel! And if you have comments, critiques, or add-ons, let me know!

Fish “TANKED” Shenanigans

Who doesn’t love a good fish tank? A huge glass box with water, some underwater plants, and colorful aquatic creatures. It’s a combination made for exquisite home design. You can stare at them mindlessly swimming all day, as much as you want! They are super low maintenance, and it’s awesome.

Could you imagine making them for a living? Well Brett and Wayde know what that’s like. They are the stars of the Animal Planet show, Tanked, and they go to ultra rich people and places and make the most extravagant fish tanks ever imagined. I don’t know if it’s going to get me in trouble for posting pictures on the blog here, but here we go:

On top of that, they are funny dudes. From New York, to Las Vegas, they spent many years perfecting their craft and company, and brought the family into it, and now have multiple seasons of a show all over media.

So why am I writing about them?

Well, I got to meet them!

In Lexington, they attended a home and garden convention (so many conventions lately), to showcase themselves. They had a Q and A, and spent some time telling their story to success, and how they landed a TV series. I didn’t get the chance to meet them personally, (unless you count running into Wayde in his hotel as he exits the elevator, then yes!) but I grabbed some pics and will tell you of some of their talk, and future endeavors.

They’re some funny guys, and I and my wife are convinced they are real on and off camera.

Brett explained how they got a television show, despite his father saying he’ll never do it, through his persistence, and his connections, they managed to get off the ground after waiting for a couple of… years. As an artist, that hurt. Imagining your dream being crafted, but then ignored for a couple of years I could feel the hurt when he said he put it away and went on with himself.

Ouch.

But with some connections from college, they became the famous tank builders they are today, and that’s inspiring!

But more importantly, since their show cancellation in December, they have announced “Lifestyle of the Fish and Famous”, they’re YouTube channel coming soon that will be behind the scenes to their works, and how they handle other elements of the job the show didn’t normally see. On top of that they’re talking to a network producer, but keeping any other info close to their chest.

So, if you haven’t watched it, let it be done so! Treat yourself to some great background watching while you read blogs, surf around on Facebook, or play video games.

Museum Shenanigans

Cincinnatti, Ohio is known for being super supportive for the arts. Wood carving, sculpting, painting, the works. Lots of people flock to become known, and to know the bright and beautiful.

Having been there twice now, The Cincinnatti Art Museum is home to three stories of famous art pieces.

I. Love. Going there. I get so inspired by looking at the paintings and seeing peoples and culture from long ago, and not so long ago. The sculptures are always a thrill to look at. It’s unbelievable how one person can perfectly mirror a real person out of rock.

So this will be a short post, because it’s going to contain some poor images from my phone’s camera. I hope you enjoy them!

As a short notice I want to say these are the ones I found inspiring for me, so they may not have an effect on you. I highly encourage you to go look through their halls if you can afford the trip. And if you’re in the area and haven’t gone… What’s wrong with you?

Meeting Authors Shenanigans

So!

(The very famous first word of Beowulf)

If you’ve been looking at my Instagram, I managed to drop a butt-load of photos of people in familiar looking outfits similar to TV shows, Video Games, and Comic Books. What’s the reason for this phenomenon?

Comic Con!

The annual Lexington Comic and Toy Convention for Kentucky rolled around, and I was there, accompanied by my ever-cosplay-loving wife. This is my excuse for why my blog was silent for a couple of weeks. That and I have attained work! You are reading the words of the newest member of Pepsi!

With all of that out of the way, let’s go!

This year I wanted to do something special; spotlighting. There were a myriad of things to see; such is the nature of a convention. Comic books for sale, reasonably priced. Plushy toys, video games from the bygone era, special appearances of actors -on camera and of unique voice-, and independent artists from the area.

Naturally, I thought, “Hey, I’m a blogger, I should… do writer things!” ha ha ha, and I set out to ask some questions, to bring you, the reader, some of the rich ore the Kentucky art vein has to offer.

May I introduce, Ronald R. Van Stockum, Jr.

The face of scientific and fictional brilliance

I had a wonderful chat with Mr. Stockum. He told me about his book, Xortal, a fantastic idea that compelled me to know more.

Afterwards I asked Mr. Stockum some questions:

“What is your favorite movie?”
7th Seal

“Where do you get your inspiration from?”
It just happens. Your imagination compels to make you write.

“How long have you been writing?”
For over 40 years.

“How did you get your start?”
I was a Sentinel news article writer.

“What drives you to write?”
I cannot not do it.

That last one had me thinking, so much so, I almost forgot to be professional and finish the conversation. I wasn’t thinking it was profound; there are many people who live on the right side of the brain. Some live so far right, they have no idea of left. And those people interest me, they live for art, breathe art, and stay in below human conditions while pursuing the genius behind the craft. And with that way of living, they sometimes say things like, “I cannot not write,” like they’re possessed. And that’s sort of how Mr. Stockum came across. And I must admit, I labelled him as such, a total right brained, seeking the art to the point of insanity. I don’t mean that as a bad thing either.

And then…

I began writing this article. I turned in my homework, gathered my materials, and reached for some websites to gain some finer details, when all of a sudden a hidden cache of information appeared. I forgot to add the ‘Jr’ to his title, and found a highly decorated military soldier with the same name. Naturally, I was wrong, but with the date of the man’s birth, and his career, something interesting was forming. Even further on, when I was looking for the right man, I was finding a completely different side to… Dr. Van Stockum.

Dr. Stockum has three degrees in biology, one degree in law, and is a practiced attorney (or former).

Here’s his website:
http://vanstockum.com/website/Home.html

A man teetering on the edge of a sane mind, AND heavily practiced researcher of science and law? It became apparent that I was looking at an “Ambidextrous Mind”

I am using that title from an article he gave me to look at. With all the pieces together, I see now his love for science and fiction come to life. His series, “Markman’s” takes place in an apocalyptic Kentucky. He gave me a gander at the map for the story…

For your viewing pleasure

And now you have a gander!

It goes without saying he was a very talented writer, with much experience in art and logic to provide a unique storytelling few can offer. If you’re looking for some apocalypse writing, and need to know what it’s like to read from a local Kentucky artist, then I urge you to try this. I certainly am, and I can’t wait to get my copy.

Sources:

Amazon:

https://www.amazon.com/kindle-dbs/entity/author/B010J65HRA?_encoding=UTF8&offset=0&pageSize=12&sort=author-pages-popularity-rank&page=1&langFilter=default#formatSelectorHeader

A Moon Poem

Art is amazing.

I’m not a big poet guy, but every once in a while I get these urges and feelings, and only poetry can do it justice. This I understand.

So for viewing pleasure I’m exposing myself for a bit to give my audience a piece of junk. It’s been written, and edited and peer reviewed. Obviously, it’s far from great, but I like it. I feel like it captures me.

There is a secret appointment tonight,
Between a boy and the moon.
Unbeknownst to others,
He runs away from home at the splash of darkness.
The seasons may determine how much they meet.
Bravery doth it take to challenge the nights of winters bite; in the
Summers warmth, the heart takes ease.
What is the purpose of this meeting?
So the moon can bestow the muse of art.
There, in it’s rays, the boy, open arms,
Shouts hidden verses:
“Come beauty!
Come magic!
Come lost song!”
Visions of astral houses are revealed.
Walls of shimmering energy,
Roofs of dragon scales.
Roads of cloud, beings of light.
The splendor of cosmic powers unveil
Themselves.
Those light beings, raising their hands, jump from place to place.
Some of them hold hands together,
Holes of strange dimensions surround them.
With a wave, stars sail across the sky, carrying their commanding hosts,
With clenched fist the ocean of dark carries the vessels closer to heaven.
Oh, the desire!
He stretches out his hands to grab hold
And climb the sky between he and his destination.
The moon says “not yet.”

***Okay, that’s my stuff. What do you think about it? I’m happy to hear your slander, comments, critiques. I can always use the refinement.***