The lights are on
Veteran Member - Level 12
It's that time of year again....
I know I haven't been around lately, but that's mostly because life has gotten pretty hectic, and I've been using up all my free time playing games (Project X Zone, Dragon's Crown and Peggle's advanced levels, mostly), watching anime (OMG Attack on Titan, why must you be so good?!) and gearing up for the HOLIDAY SEASON OF AWESOME (DUN DUN DUN).
My husband is cooking enthusiast (as in, he enjoys cooking epic meals), and this is the prime delicious comestible time of the year. He's made a ton of fabulous soups, baked casseroles, muffins and dessert items all from home made ingredients, and luckily for me, I get to be the taste tester. We're also putting together our Halloween costumes, decorating like crazy and trying to get in the spirit of the holiday.
In other news, my birthday is coming up in a week (29 and feeling fine, lol), and my youngest is having her birthday the week after that, so this is going to be a busy month for celebrations.
OH AND I ALMOST FORGOT.
POKEMON X AND Y!
Gotta catch 'em before they catch YOU.
The most anticipated game of the year is coming out right during my birthday week! It's like GameFreak decided to get me a present (only I still had to pay for it, boooooo). Nonetheless, I'm really excited about the newest iteration in Pokemon- not only will we be able to customize our trainer characters, battle friends from AROUND THE WORLD, and explore a totally new adventure with our new Pokemon friends, but we'll be doing it together! I'm going to be playing Pokemon X, my husband is going to be playing Pokemon Y and I hope that you will join us this month and play the game with us (and I'll be blogging when I get the chance and we can discuss the play by play awesomeness that is sure to be within the hours of gameplay we put into X and Y respectively!
That said, is anyone going to be doing the midnight release (not me, I have small children)? What about getting the new, sweet looking 3DS XLs with the Pokemone X/Y legendaries on them? OMG, I'm literally hanging on the edge of my seat for this release! What are you most looking forward to?
Right now I'm basically powering through Project X Zone in anticipation for Pokemon (although I also picked up the limited edition of the new Etrian Odyssey Millennium Girl game for 3DS). With the free mini art book, music CD and all-redone graphics and story mode, it's sure to be a really enjoyable experience (especially since other than IV, I is really my most favorite Etrian Odyssey experience).
Merch, sweet merch!
Also, if you get the game, don't forget to put the Club Nintendo code into your account on Club Nintendo for points! I hear some exclusive prizes may be coming out in a few weeks, so keep your eyes peeled on Club Nintendo's site!
I'm sure that our dear readers are interested in what strange things Morrigan has to teach...
Project X Zone has got my heart at the moment, and I'll tell you why. Originally, I was under the impression that this game was a fighting game because, c'mon, Ken, Ryu, Chun Li, Morrigan, etc are all part of the game. In fact, characters from at least 10 different series of game show up to kick some extra-dimensional butt, including the Tales series, the .Hack series, Megaman, Devil May Cry, Resident Evil, Street Fighter, Darkstalkers, Tekken, King of Fighters, Sakura Wars and others.
Don't try to follow the plot all that much because most of it is "Haha, I'm an evil bad guy doing evil bad guy things" and "Why are we in this place? Oh well, got to bash in some faces in the name of justice!" The good news is that the original Japanese voice acting is standard in this game (and it's well done). The music is also awesome- each character's turn plays its theme music. The way the controls work is simple- each unit is two characters (you don't get to chose who teams up), and an optional third character can be added as a "solo" unit. You'll be walking around on a grid showing your range of motion and if you are close enough to another unit, you have the option to do an epic four-person team-up fight. Once you pick a bad guy, you go into a 2D side scrolling fight screen (somewhat like the SNES version of Street Fighter) and you use A Button plus D pad combinations to do various attack moves (and if you do a certain combo, you get bonus attacks, all while filling up an XP bar which will allow you to do special moves that do supreme damage). Your units level up based on enemies destroyed, and there is absolutely NO GRINDING in this game- just level after level plus stories and some maintenance screens where you can equip stuff and change solo fighter assignments.
If you like SRPGs, you'll love this game. You can use items that you get in the game without using up a turn (so you can heal HP during a long level and still attack, which is good because you literally have zero ways to grind and each level you have to beat by the skin of your teeth). Trust me, Project X Zone is one of the underrated titles of the year, and it's kind of hard to find in stores, but it's well worth the purchase.
Dragon's Crown- More like Dragon's Fanservice!
Anyway, that aside, I'm also doing a play through of Dragon's Crown with my husband (just like in the good old days, when people had two controllers, one screen, and a lot of snarky comments). I'm playing as the Elf/archer and he's the Amazon/Tank. We've been having a lot of fun playing (and getting acquainted with the various quirks and benefits of our character classes. We haven't gotten very far (trying to find time where we're both together and untethered by small children is difficult, but when we make it happen, it's video game magic!) but we've had a blast in the two or so hours we get each time we play. If you also have Dragon's Crown, please know that Atlus just released a new patch recently to fix some of the issues with gameplay, and the game runs a lot more smoothly now.
This is why you should always turn your PS3 off after you're done playing- unless you want your characters to overheat.
WHEW! That was a lot of stuff! Finally, in the spirit of spookiness and all things Halloween, I want to share a bit of creative writing I recently finished- a short piece of fiction about evil and nameless dread. Read with the lights on and only if you dare.
There is something wrong with the couch.
Well, that’s not entirely truthful. There’s something wrong with the right side of the couch. It wasn’t like this when I got it, and I should know- it was the first new piece of furniture I’ve ever purchased. After slumming it for years like the starving college student I was, I had felt as though I were cementing my actual adulthood by purchasing a comfortable, non-lumpy, brand-new piece of living room furniture. Unlike my second-hand couches of the past (which were covered with bedsheets to protect guests from the phantom butt-residue and very real old food stains of their previous owners), my new, three-seated suede couch (with bonus storage drawers built into the bottom!) was mine to unwrap from the box, crinkling plastic and styrofoam in my hands with glee. And that new couch smell- ahhh, nothing like it.
But I began to notice things after only a week.
Objects began to go missing in the apartment, which is odd, since I’m the only one with opposable thumbs who lives there (Henry, my cat, doesn’t count as he is far too lazy to be malicious). I rarely have visitors, as many of my college friends have moved on to other cities looking for work while I stayed behind, working part time at the local library and doing some instruction in the computer lab at the nearby elementary school.
At first, I thought that I had simply misplaced my remote control. After all, watching TV and sitting on the couch go hand in hand.
But after five days of finding the remote shoved down the right side of the couch, even though I favor the middle or the left (due to the positioning of the living room and television), and even after I made doubly sure that the remote was left on the television stand the night before, I began to feel a vague sense of dread prickling down the back of my neck whenever I found the remote in the same position, with the buttons to the side against the right armrest, in the folds of the couch.
I began to have the strange, dreadful feeling that one day, I’d reach my hand down the side of that couch and my hand would brush against something- something that shouldn’t exist, that shouldn’t be down the side of a couch or anywhere on this Earth for that matter, and the thought began to pick at my sense of solace and calm while at home- which is the pride and joy of anyone who has finally escaped the insanity that is shared housing with other slobby college folks.
My keys began to find themselves down the side of the couch as well. I always, always, always, always hang them up on the hook next to the entrance hall. I am not the sort of person to leave them in my pockets or on a fob on my belt loop. Yet, the keys would be gone in the morning and in my frenzied rush to get out the door, I would have to turn, run to the side of the dreaded couch and plunge my hand quickly, like a kingfisher spearing a minnow, and retrieve my keyring.
I became adept at this technique; flattening and sharpening my hand into the approximation of a spear and then lining my arm up with the armrest and plunging my hand down into the crease as quickly as possible to retrieve whatever item was sure to be down there. It was as though I was gearing up to shove my hand into a pot of scalding water, not soft and inviting couch-material. I am certain this little maneuver appears silly, and would have been embarrassed had anyone seen me (bored looks from Henry as he groomed his paws non-withstanding), but in practice, it would be all I could do not to have a panic attack once I got elbow-deep.
Two weeks after I purchased the couch, I began to notice a sizable lump protruding from the top of the rightmost cushion that wasn’t always there. Whenever I was at least twenty or feet away from the couch, it appeared to have a lump, and by lump, I mean to say that it appeared as though someone had sliced a globe in thirds, taken the top third and sewn it under the cushion until the fabric began to stretch tautly against it.
Of course, as I got closer to the couch, the lump seemed to disappear altogether. It never moved and I never noticed it disappearing, but somehow, by simply moving closer my eyes could no longer see it. I didn’t dare to touch it, and tried to convince myself that it was a trick of the light, that I was just seeing things, but It didn’t help me to control the lurch that I felt in my stomach every morning as I walked down the hall from my bedroom in dread at seeing it.
My hair was coming out in patches. My eyes were rimmed with red and black from lack of sleep.
It had to go.
I called the furniture store. The line was disconnected. I went to the store’s location to speak to someone. There were big CLEARANCE and GOING OUT OF BUSINESS ALL SALES FINAL signs out front, and when I peered in the windows, the floors and walls were completely bare.
I placed ads on the local give-away website, trying to find someone to take my couch, but everyone who came to look at it saw it wrong. One couple said it was bright red and at least a foot shorter than they had expected- that it didn’t look ANYTHING like the picture or dimensions I had posted. One man, who appeared to have absolutely no taste at all, finally decided to take it, but somehow, no matter how hard we tried, we couldn’t seem to fit the couch out the front door. It was all angles when we needed curves and curves when we needed angles. Finally, after nearly an hour, the man left with a huff of frustration and a few choice swear words directed at me for wasting his time.
Henry began to spend more time outside, only coming in for meals and when bribed with catnip. He refuses to touch the couch, not even to sharpen his claws.
I desperately began to invite friends over to stay, but even when one would finally agree, none would sleep on the couch. They’d make excuses- either it was too lumpy or too hard or too short or too..something, anyway, so I purchased a foam mattress to unroll in my bedroom. My guests did not like the living room, especially with the lights out.
I couldn’t blame them.
I worked late- I picked up an additional job in the evenings tutoring children and helping them with homework. Then I’d eat dinner, go out for a late movie and try to get home as late as I could get away with and still function the next day.
I began to ask friends if I could stay over with them. I couldn’t tell them why. People began to look at me like I was going mad, and I wondered if they might be right.
I mean, a couch, of all things! It’s not even remotely malicious or dangerous like a knife or a blender or even a computer- a couch has no moving parts, no blades, no memory or CPU- it is an inanimate object. When I told myself these things, I felt silly, overly dramatic and foolish. There were people out there in the world sitting on milk crates or out in the cold with no shelter whatsoever, and here I was, acting like a paranoid fool about a COUCH.
A month after the couch had arrived, I began dreaming in an endless loop. I’d wake up to a bright morning, get dressed, walk down the hall and the living room would be dark with only a slight ambient light as though someone had placed a candle somewhere in the room. No matter how many lights I tried to turn on or flashlights I brought with me, it was no use and I could barely see. I tried to look around and see my surroundings, but my head felt impossibly heavy and I couldn’t lift it. My eyes were staring at the ground and I desperately wanted to look up but felt a wave of nausea and dread at the thought of it, my neck powerlessly bent over, nose pointing at my feet.
That is when I heard it, a deep, thrumming noise, coming from the couch. It was like a purr, punctuated with the sort insect-like trilling that comes from deep within the nest of bees. I didn’t want to go closer, but my body began to move, shuffling reluctantly as I screamed in my head to run away, to move, to grab something that to use as a weapon- anything.
The noise would get louder as I got closer, and I knew it could see me, that it knew I was there. The noises changed then, and I heard something slither, or skitter or move a large weight of something substantial and wet.
I feel something slide up my leg.
I am blinded by light.
I scream, but it’s like I’m drowning as well and no sound comes out, just a choked wail.
I wake up again in the dream. I dread what will come next but am powerless to stop it.
And then I wake up.
I pinch myself and swear at the pain. I know that I am awake. It’s daylight outside and I’m in my bed, but oh god, I can’t be in my bed because I was visiting family over 6 hours drive away and there is no way I could be here, yet I am here. The door to my bedroom is closed. I get up, get dressed. I feel a sinking feeling in my stomach and look around my room for something, anything that I can use for a weapon. All I can find is the curtain rod, and I’m fairly certain it’s a hollow aluminum anyway, but it’s better than nothing.
I open the door a crack and waves of muggy heat pour into my room. Even though it is light outside my windows, I can see the inky blackness of the hallway and the living room and I began to feel faint and nauseous. I know what I have to do. I know what comes next. I hear the purring drone in my head, in my bones, in my very soul, and I feel my sanity shatter into stardust, or possibly something more ancient. Perhaps I chose it or itchose me- I can’t rightly say. But I can see now that I have no more choice in the matter than an ant who trudges in a pheromone line, blindly bringing food back to its queen.
It is hungry.
I open the door and step into the darkness.
And that, my friends, is all she wrote!
Well, not exactly, as I still have to end this blog!
Once again, I apologize for the sporadic posts- but when life gets in the way, you adjust and survive.
Hope that all is well with you, and may your Halloween be spooky and your Pokemon battles fruitful.