Mercy – 01/01

Julian Terrin looked up at the sound of the abbey’s bells announcing the time: five in the evening. To him they always sounded as if they were welcoming him home. The Abbey of St. Atrice had been his home a mere five years, but he couldn’t think of a better place. The dark, ash-colored walls swept upwards gracefully, slowly turning black as the sun set behind them. When it was completely silhouetted by the sun the abbey took on a sinister and brooding appearance, contradicting the idea of sanctuary it offered. The spindly towers and gothic decorations reminded Julian of a sorcerer’s tower. But in any case—

“It’s good to be home,” a smiling voice suddenly declared.

Julian ignored the voice, concentrating instead on making his way towards the front door. He was tired and didn’t feel like talking to the voice’s owner anyways. This tactic never seemed to work, but right now he simply was not in the mood to—

“Are you ignoring me, Terrin?” It inquired, sounding more amused than offended. “Come on, it’s not like it’ll do any good. I’ll just keep talking and talking and talking and talking and—”

“Brother Julian!” A young man—still a neophyte—waved amicably as he walked towards the older priest. “How did your mission go?” He asked eagerly.

“—and talking and talking and talking and talking—”

“It wasn’t a mission, Mathias,” Terrin smiled, “I was delivering a message to St. Jerias’s.” The lad fell into step with him and pushed open the door, holding it until they were both inside before letting it swing shut with a heavy whump.

Mathias continued to stay close to Julian, like a puppy. “I know it wasn’t a mission,” he said hurriedly, “but did you see anything interesting? Did anyone try to hurt you on the way?” The youngster was convinced that brothers like Julian, who were often sent out on long trips, led lives like the protagonists of adventure stories. The fact that most of the time these trips were just message relays or requests for certain church services did nothing to change his opinion either. In his mind, something exciting was always waiting to happen—so long as you left the abbey.

“—talking and talking and talking and talking—”

“No, Mathias,” he answered after a brief pause, “I didn’t see anything interesting. Only the grazing hills in Nortire and the cattle and sheep enjoying the grass.” They were heading for Julian’s quarters which were located on the first floor near the library. The boy’s soft shoes made a shuffling on the stone floors while his heavier boots made a loud thud each time he stepped.

“—and talking and talking and—”

“I see,” came the reply, which sounded as if he didn’t see at all. Mathias took the priest’s pause to mean that he was holding something back, something important perhaps. He waited for Julian to bring forth this withdrawn bit of information, but was only rewarded with silence. “You would tell me if there was something, wouldn’t you?” The lad asked, glancing quickly at the older man.

“—and talking and talking and talk—”

“Would you be quiet?!” Julian shouted abruptly, able to take no more of the sing-song words being repeated over and over. Next to him, the boy looked shocked and confused at the outburst. The priest quickly grimaced apologetically and laid a comforting hand on the young man’s shoulder. “Sorry,” he said, embarrassed, “I’m just tired, I wasn’t yelling at you, Mathias.” He waved his hand in the air as if to dismiss the whole thing, “Look, just forget it, please. I’ll see you at supper and you can tell me what’s happened here while I was gone.” He waited, wishing he had controlled himself better.

A small pause, then a smile, “It’s not like anything interesting ever happens around here. See you at supper!” Mathias grinned and took off in the other direction, perhaps remembering some task that needed to be done.

Julian breathed a sigh of relief, glad that the boy had overlooked his harsh words and odd explanation. Still he was ashamed at his own lack of control.

“That went well,” the voice laughed, obviously pleased with itself.

“Shut up, Chemos,” the priest said irritably, walking swiftly towards his room, as if trying to lose the voice.

“Come on, it was funny! Now that kid thinks you’re crazy! Think of all the things you can do to scare him!”

“I don’t want to scare him, it would be nice to have someone that I could talk to around here. Thanks to you, I’m running out of brothers.”

“Ah, Terrin, you have no sense of humor at all. It’s a shame.”

Our father, who art in heaven—

“Are you praying again?” Chemos laughed, “You know it doesn’t work!”

–thy kingdom come, thy will be done—

His thoughts trailed off when he heard a second pair of footsteps walking beside him and he clenched his hand into a fist, annoyance becoming pure anger. “Go away, Chemos,” he said tersely.

Next to him was a tall, lean man dressed in chains looped many times around his body. Under the chains was thick leather which seemed to be sewn into his skin around the neck and on the arms. His thin boots clicked sharply next to Julian’s heavier ones. “You looked like you could use some company,” he responded airily, “and I wanted to stretch my legs.” He held up a hand to the priest’s stern glare, “I’ll disappear if we see anyone, don’t worry; I’m not stupid.”

Julian could hear his teeth grinding together as he tried to reign in his temper. “Are you at all capable of just letting me have a few moments of peace or is that too much to ask of you?”

“Oh stop being so mad about the kid,” Chemos slipped long hands into the pockets of his pants as he walked and rolled his eyes, “it’s not my fault you can’t keep it together. Though I am impressed; that’s probably the longest you’ve managed to ignore me before shouting. You’re getting better, Terrin, I’m going to have to find a new way of annoying you.” He grinned at the thought.

“What did I do to deserve this?” Julian mumbled to himself.

Chemos laughed wickedly, “Here we go again, the ‘woe is me’ act. Did you ever stop to think that maybe there isn’t a reason for everything, Terrin? Maybe your god let a demon like me possess you because you just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. For all you know you were just some poor idiot that was convenient—”

“Shut up, Chemos.”

The tired priest entered his room and slammed the door, hard. Of course it wouldn’t keep the demon outside, but it felt good all the same. Drained, mentally and physically, he sat down on the edge of his bed, then slowly lay down and sighed. He would have started praying again but that would only incite more jeers from Chemos and right now he just wanted peace. Unfortunately the only way to have that was to sleep. He was constantly denied any reprieve from the irritating games and the malicious jokes while conscious, but while he dreamt, he was relatively undisturbed. Closing his eyes he concentrated on the image of a serene lake with a little sailboat gliding across it quietly. It was a routine he’d practiced for years and more out of habit than anything else he fell asleep quickly. But just as he felt his mind slipping into slumber, however, he heard Chemos’s parting words.

“At least it wasn’t Marielle that was talking to you, Terrin. Sweet dreams.”

His dreams were far from sweet when he fell completely asleep.

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I do but I don’t, so leave me alone

For who the hell knows what reason, I was thinking about a fitness article I’d read.  The author at what point talks about the excuse of “I don’t have enough time” being used to get out of exercising regularly.  His response is that “everyone has at least 45 minutes in their day to go and exercise”, or something similar to that.  I agree, I’m fairly sure that there is no one in this world that doesn’t get about 45 minutes of downtime in their day.  However, “relaxing”, “chilling”, “chilaxing” are usually the tasks that are assigned to that spare time.  When did those become frowned upon?  I think this makes me angry because I always feel like I never have time and if I had to break it down, that’s not an unfair way to think.  Full time job, a side job that takes up weekends, full time schooling and then the odds and ends that you have to do to maintain a living space and a position in society (paying bills, buying food, doing laundry so you look like you care)…all of those things take up a lot of time.  I won’t say that I never have free time, just that it’s sometimes hard to come by.  When I do get free time, I’d like to use it to play a game or read a book or watch a movie.  The other 5 to 9 hours of free time I have during the day (depending on how tired I am) are given to sleep.  Should that be given up for exercise?

The problem isn’t that this guy is wrong, it’s that he’s presuming everyone that uses the busy excuse is being lazy.  Some people are.  I definitely have used that and then been lazy.  But having absolutely no time to wind down and do nothing is unhealthy.  More likely you’ll break down and then wind up in a hospital and then you really won’t be able to get to the gym.  Here’s where, if I was making this argument to a heath fanatic I’m sure they would come back with “if you were already exercising daily you’d have more energy.”  Sure, that’s very true.  If I did crack I’d have the energy to exercise too and get the rest of my tasks done.  I don’t think a drug addiction is really the way to go though.  “If you ate properly you’d have more energy.”  Again, true and very valid.  My only argument/whining is that the shift I work makes it slightly more difficult to buy healthy food.  Not impossible for sure.  Salad works is still open during my break, but they’re a little pricey and I’m cheap.  Also, after listening to a dozen people tell you that you suck, french fries are just the thing to perk you up.  So, okay, I’m not as iron-willed as the health fanatics, or maybe I just put my health lower on the priority list than work and school.  I’m not denying that they’re correct, on paper they look like they win the argument and I’m just bitching.  But with this untested statement, if you put it in practice, it’s going to fall on its face.  Those 45 minutes suddenly go to the car emergency you have while you’re driving (maybe on the way to the gym), to attempting to track down some weird entry on a bank statement, to just clearing your mind after a stress-filled day.  I’m just saying…let’s not be so hard on those of us that can’t get to the gym regularly, okay?

And if that’s not good enough, we can leave it at: people that can do that and work a lot are better than I am, but I don’t really care so just leave me alone.

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Please give

The holidays seem like a good time to ask people to give what they can to good causes.  That being said, if you find that you have extra money or time please give some to a charity you like and respect.  For myself, I want to ask that anyone coming across this post please donate blood to the Red Cross or a blood bank near you.  They are always in need of blood and what nicer gift could you give than saving someone’s life when they need a transfusion?  As well as that please donate what you can to cancer research.  Help to stop this horrible disease from taking good people away too soon.

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Super Robot Taisen: Finished

So after much work and many attempts at the last boss, I managed to finish Super Robot Taisen OG Saga: Endless Frontier.  I think that this game will be one of my favorites, for a lot of reasons.  I want to break it down a little.

Cast: Amazing.  How can you not love a full cast of sexy women?  And they come in all shapes, sizes and colors so you can find your particular favorite.  Mine was by far Aschen Brodel, and the fact that she has two settings: cold and snippy or bubbly and ditsy.  Aschen is the partner/first mate/voice of reason for Haken Brown, one of the few male main characters in this game.  Haken is the charismatic cowboy always on the lookout for a new piece of ass.  The other lovely ladies: Kaguya, Suzuka, Xiaomu and KOS-MOS have their own personality quirks and poses (Kaguya often leans forward so far that her dress almost slips off).  KOS-MOS is a recurring character in the Xenosaga series, for all of those who are fans of her (this was the first game I played with her in it, but I am planning on pursuing her further).

Fights: The combat system was a lot of fun.  Sometimes turn-based combat can be a little tedious or annoying, but they did a great job with it in Super Robot Taisen.  The characters share a frontier gauge which when filled can be used to power their ultimate attacks (all the ladies either lose pieces of clothing or show how flexible they are).  Each time you attack you lift the enemy into the air, the more you keep them off the ground the more damage you do,  this aspect was something I was never able to master but still cool.  As well as beating the shit out of monsters you have spirits which allow you to heal the party, buff yourself up or debuff the enemy and skills which range from very damaging attacks to regaining health or protecting the party.  There are a lot of ways to hurt things and do a lot of damage, but that’s not to say that the fights are easy.  Some are incredibly difficult and the only way to win them is to use a certain amount of strategy with brute force.  The combination of the two makes things that much more interesting, not to mention the overall sexiness of the fights.

Story: The story surprised me the most.  This game is very clearly a JRPG, but it lacks most of the themes that go into that genre.  Granted there was some dialog about being positive and moving forward and fighting for good and all that, but that was usually sprinkled with sexual innuendo and bickering between the characters.  All characters were more dimensional than the stereotypes they were based off of (Kaguya, for instance, was not a complete naive, voluptuous ditz, she had some bite to her).  The premise is that the world has been broken into pieces and you can only get from one area to another using a cross-gate which is something of a teleporter.  As well as this there are some strange rock formations that are impossible to break until later in the game but are annoyingly everywhere you need to get to.  It takes some investigating to track down who’s behind all of this, in the meantime you get to meet a lot of colorful and funny characters.  In the end it turns out that aliens (?) are running around impersonating almost anyone they can get their hands on.  Why they are doing this is a little unclear, but that could be because I was always playing while watching TV or a movie.  At any rate, they’re bad guys and pretty nasty to fight, especially because you’re sometimes fighting yourself.

Artwork: Very beautiful and detailed.  And best of all, you can tell people apart!  Yay!

Voice Acting: All in Japanese, but still very very good.

All in all, this game was amazing.  I give it some absurdly high score which will convince you to go buy it and play it.  Like now.  Seriously.

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Scott Pilgrim

Watch it now.

Posted in Movies | 2 Comments »


I love Netflix because it provides me with a way to see movies that I would never have known existed without perusing a very large, very well-stocked dvd store.  Just now I finished Ink, which was apparently a sci-fi thriller.  I guess there’s no fantasy genre because that would have been more fitting, but then those two always get lumped together.  At any rate, this movie came out in 2009 apparently which makes me sad that I missed it.  I don’t know how popular it was, it seems like A Scanner Darkly which people either loved (like me) or hated (like my boyfriend).  Ink makes great use of makeup and computer effects as well as that neat thing where they make the film look like it’s skipping so a character walking across the room does weird little tele-hops in a terrifying fashion.  Fortunately there was a solid story to back those effects up and fragments of another world which you learn more of through the characters or by seeing glimpses of it.  One part of this world seems happy and idyllic while they other is cold and generally unpleasant and everyone wears a lot of black.  As for the story I got confused in some places, which could have been because I was working on “Kill K” at the same time, so I’ll be rewatching to see if what I didn’t understand the first time, falls in place the second.  I have to say that by far, the path finder dude was my favorite character.  That dude was fantastic.  And I actually liked the little girl, even though I don’t like kids and kids in movies usually aren’t interesting to me unless it’s Dakota Fanning.  But this one was very cute, and she had two great lines consisting only of “Roar!”

Go watch Ink, unless you’re a horrible person and didn’t like movies like The Dark Crystal, Labrynth, Pan’s Labrynth or Mirror Mask.  But in that case I don’t like you on principle.

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More Steve Martin!  I actually saw the movie before I got to read the book so unfortunately I knew what was going to happen.  I’m trying to cut back on how much I say “the book was so much better than the movie” and I surprisingly don’t feel that way this time.  The thing about the book is that it offers a view into the minds of the characters who are complex and intricate and there’s no good way to do that in a movie without narrating or having the characters speak their thoughts aloud.  Fightclub almost got away with it, but it’s such an awkward thing to do that it didn’t completely fly.

Again, Steve Martin writes carefully and thoughtfully and it shows in his characters and the narration of the story.  Reading Mirabelle was fascinating.  Her full complexity didn’t come through in the movie for the reason I stated before, but on paper it was easy to relate to her and feel for her.  Not just a shy young woman, she truly doesn’t understand herself or the world she lives in and incorrectly believes that if she could find someone that loved her, everything would be resolved.  Really, she has to change and solidify herself before anything can get better, but through the relationships that take place in the story she does just that.  This is actually a major theme of the story: growing up or perhaps coming into your own.  Mirabelle’s foil, Lisa, became a sad favorite character, even though she was not major.  Her ideas about relationships and her own self worth made her tangible and made me care about her.  I had trouble relating to Jeremy, and I don’t think it was his writing but if he had been a real person I probably wouldn’t find him appealing in any sense.  Ray was another favorite, though there are so few characters that it’s a little pointless picking favorites.  He made sense, was logical but his hang ups were presented in a way that made him feel real.  Nothing felt as though he was created as a stereotype or a convenient plot device.

I mentioned that there are only a few characters that get much attention and this is what I like about Steve Martin’s writing: he focuses on a few lives, or even one life, for a brief period of time, shares it and then leaves it.  It’s like looking at a picture that captures one moment in time.  And there is nothing pushy about the ideas and lessons of his writing, merely an offering of them to look at, listen to and then tuck away in your brain so that later you might think of them.  I also have to say that if L.A. is as he presents it, I would be more willing to visit.

One last note: Shopgirl is a novella which means that it is a short novel.  It is not simpler because it’s short; there’s a lot to absorb and I imagine that this story should be reread later on so that you can refresh yourself and pick out new things missed before.

With that I’m finished praising Mr. Martin for a little while at least.

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Two books that should be read

If you’re the sort of person that reads books that is.  Otherwise, wait for these to come out as movies.  In between working and playing Eve and rotting my brain on the internet, I’ve had the pleasure of reading two wonderful novels, The Pleasure of My Company by Steve Martin and Snowflower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See.  Steve Martin is one of my favorite authors so I was biased before picking up the book.  He has a neat way of writing, it’s careful and easy-going at the same time.  Despite the title, it’s not about a narcissist, which is what I figured at first.  Actually it’s about a very sweet and caring protagonist that deals with several neroses that command his life.  The thing I liked about the story was that it never delved into the psychology or psychiatry of his conditions to a point where it would weigh things down trying to explain them.  Sort of like Asimov never tried to write at length and in detail about positronic brains, Martin just presents the character and his behaviors and lets them mold the story because they are character restraints and so dictate the way he may or may not behave which makes everything that much more charming.  The protagonist goes through the story and interweaves his life with those of other characters, considers them, helps them and is in the end better for the relationships he builds with them.  By the time I finished the book, I felt happy and very content, and I really recommend it for people that like Steve Martin’s movies, especially those that he wrote the screen plays for.

Snowflower is a very beautiful story.  I will admit that I have a passion for Chinese and Japanese literature (I would say Asian but I haven’t read enough from all the Asian countries to say something that general).  Most basically, the story is about two Chinese women who are very dear friends, sisters really.  Yet as soon as I think of the story like that I have to mention a caveat: it’s not a story about these women changing the face of China or even the way their families view women.  What I’m trying to say is that it’s not a story shitting all over men and empowering women and rights and other feminist ideas.  It’s very true to the time and place and traditions.  The facts were that women were lowly and had to be obedient and were used and overlooked and treated without respect.  The story doesn’t try to go against any of these facts or bring up the protagonists as rebellious, fire-hearted heroins.  Their rebellions are small and quiet.  I think I’ve spent too much time on this warning.  My frustration with feminism as I know it is showing through.  Anyways, Snowflower is about an amazing friendship that carries on through the lives of two women and carries them through good events and bad ones (marriage, children, death, disease).  It’s sad at times but because of their love, these women are endearing to read about and it’s a powerful motif.

Hopefully my recommendations lead to someone going out and reading these books.  They are very well written and despite being very different, definitely worth adding to your library.  And with the way movies are going, will probably get turned into films sometime soon.

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Secondary Home

Because is down…again, this will be it’s second home.  I’m looking forward to being able to ftp into the server to retrieve the files in there, as MMS also lives at that domain.  Because spacesocket has turned out to be a pretty poor host, I’m moving the site over here until I decide what to do next.  It really sucks but as I’ve said before, I know who runs this server and I can threaten him if it goes down.  How does the new theme look?  Awful?  I know, I’m not a designer.  Because I’m trying to do more in the way of development and writing down the road, I thought maybe an easier to read site would be better; white on dark background is a little eye straining.

In other news, MMS Chapter Third is about 64% done.  It’s been awhile but I look forward to being able to put it up very soon.  This is the first time I’ve drawn a fight scene and I have mixed feelings about it, but I think it’ll still be okay.  Kill K is building up a little momentum as well, though it’s become black and white due to my tablet dying.  With any luck I’ll be able to buy a new one not too long from now.

That’s it.

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