Temple of Kraden News:
This may or may not contain spoilers for the DS game Radiant Historia.
When looking at the overall experience when playing a game, it's an interesting viewpoint if one pays attention to how the music interacts with each environment, scene, and battle it entails. I don't mean if you personally enjoy the music, but instead how well it fits into the game.
Which is subjective in all accounts, unfortunately, so allow me to explain using Radiant Historia, a DS JRPG that I've recently discovered and immensely enjoy so far. The game's soundtrack is handled, and I'd edge in with a slightly tactless "well-handled", rather, by Yoko Shimomura. You might know this composer through games like Kingdom Hearts, and you can most certainly hear her influence in many of the tracks available. I'm not against that, since I believe her technique fits well into the game.
Take, for example, the theme of the protagonist's country, or rather its capital: Alistel.
You'd expect this theme to fit with a rustic, perhaps even ancient civilization. And this game does have an ancient kingdom that would fit that sort of air, that maybe would be stuck in time or perhaps deep-rooted in old values. Yet, Alistel appears to be none of those. It is instead a nation full of techmaturgic progress and several influences from the steampunk genre. It is, to be seen by outsiders, a nation of progress and would probably need a more grand and triumphant sounding theme. However, as you learn through the game, Alistel is nowhere near the nation of progress that it advertises itself as. Its leaders are headed by a religious prophet who never shows his face, and the people eat up whatever propaganda spews out from the mouthpieces of the army generals without protest. Though its technology improves, its people remain stagnant.
And you learn, later, that Alistel is home to a much darker and sinister corruption than the likes of the "enemy nation": Granog. That's not to say that Granog is better, though. They're basically France being led by Marie Antoinette during a war, to keep it brief. Yet, despite the tyranny that goes on, the music and the beauty of the capital make the irony of the situation more apparent.
Perhaps I only see how everything fits because I enjoy the game, and that's probably the reason why others may not agree. However, that is to say that the music in these two cases (and in many more as you may discover if you ever play the game) fit the setting well and defined each one as having their distinct characteristics. So maybe what I'm trying to say is that a game's success also lies in how well the soundtrack works for a game, and in the case of Radiant Historia it works wonders for it.
YouTube Sountrack for Radiant Historia can be accessed through this link
I had received a love letter back in 7th grade.
7th grade (Around when you're 12-13 years old for you strange British people) is obviously an era which the abominable cesspit of rampaging hormones and petty disappointments strikes its hardest. This letter was delivered, as all letters inevitably end up being delivered, in an indirect fashion as if the letter itself wasn't already indirect, be it a locker or a close friend. I would eventually find out that the author of this letter was a girl who went by the name of Kimmy, who also happened to sit close enough in math class for me to recognize. To break most all romantic tropes, however, things did not set off from there. In fact, I took that letter to a deep, dark recess in my room and thought nothing of it. It wasn't that I hated her, no. But, in the interest of keeping this interesting, I'll tell you what was going through my mind at the time. I was extremely confused. What, exactly, did she see in me that made me the recipient of her affection? And, perhaps more importantly, why should I pay attention to a girl I don't know too much about besides the point that we share a class? Perhaps such questions were too enormous for the middle school child to handle, because after hours upon hours of thinking it through, and several hours more thinking about real life issues, I dismissed the whole thing as frivolous and never bothered to answer her words, as I was such to hold myself in such low esteem that I denied myself reward in most forms. We never talked much in math class, so things were still okay at that point... I think. I thought that, maybe, this whole thing would blow over and everything would be fine and dandy again just like before I received the letter. And in a way that was worse than hating her for the letter, because I ignored her and became indifferent. And so a year passes.
The next year, I get another letter. Same person, same statement, just a year older.
And now that I think about it, perhaps it was the genuine frankness of those words, and also the amount of time that passed, that made me reconsider myself. As science would gladly explain it, since Kimmy had been "spurned" in this attempt, the love only grew from there to the point of sending another letter, albeit it was a long time. There was something about that I had admired at the time. I did not think of it as creepy, since I had been long acquainted with her shyness around me since we shared yet another class that year. So one day I decide to answer her letter with one of my own, telling her my thoughts on the issue at hand. She, of course, replied happily. Truthfully, I did not share the same feelings that she had felt. I, at the time, regarded her as a friend, perhaps only at the level of schoolmate that I happen to know. Of course, this I didn't tell her in writing. As things still didn't develop as fast as one might think, things were still awkward and a rumor even spread about it.
It wouldn't be until graduation was near that the idea of going to the movies together sounded like a splendid idea. It would also be my first "date", so to speak. I would also be the last date I would have with Kimmy. The movie was a choice romance movie: Pirates of the Caribbean 3. And, perhaps in a more depressing note, it wasn't very eventful. We met there, I bought most everything except her movie ticket (which she refused to let me pay for, and which I desired no conflict), and watched the feature presentation without making a single move on the date in question. I won't deny wanting to hold her hand during the movie, however, and the motive to do so escapes me to this day. After the credits, after leaving the movie, even after the ride back home, I never attempted physical contact. One could attribute to the fact that this was the first time I was with a girl, alone, on a date. Assuredly, there is going to be complications. However, at that time I knew something was off about this situation. And that, no matter how much affection she could muster to catch my attention, the only response I could ever give was to appreciate her company as a friend, so to speak. The ambiguous relationship between me and her ended with our goodbyes to middle school, as we would not be in the same high school from here on out.
From here, I'm stuck. Am I supposed to feel depressed about this? Was it perhaps the fact that there was such a thin bond to begin with that the severing didn't have much of an impact?
That's not to say, of course, that I'm incapable of loving. In fact, there's been several people that I've been attracted to over the years I've been in high school. In fact, part of the reason why I started making the large paper swans was based on the possibility that I could use it as a gift. However, there's still a lot of things about romance that boggles me, as well as the occasional scare. A great fear, perhaps an irrational fear, of being rejected. Those who know me would probably say that I'm a pretty cool guy to be around, but that's probably the farthest they can compliment me. I'm starting to think that my inherent tendency to mentally isolate myself from others lies within more than just a social boundary.
I think Gila Manolson words it best concerning the concept of attraction:
"Obviously, there's a huge distance from here to the far more profound, personal love developed over the years, especially in marriage. But seeing goodness is the beginning."
It's strange to see, as one would most likely assume, that basic attraction starts with something that can be defined by a whole as "goodness". Attraction is achieved once it is understood that there's things to like about this person. In order to love in the first place, there has to be a reason. It doesn't matter how twisted or uncouth the reason may be, as often abusive and obsessive relationships would boggle the mind, but still it makes sense in the human psyche to hold a bond in such a turmoil. It's a required event in all of the romance genre of fiction, though often given in a variety of colorful and creative methods of exactly how that happens. Attraction, somehow, still becomes the prime issue.
It would probably explain my ambiguous relationship with Kimmy as well, since, while she seemed to see a lot in me, I couldn't see much of her at all that brought me to her. I found the whole thing to be an interesting phenomenon, an experiment waiting for observations, probably the most offensive attitude towards love there is. And so, not being able to recognize those kinds of qualities at the time, nothing amounted of that relationship. I'm not necessarily say that the chemicals weren't reacting for me, nor that I wasn't feeling it enough, but the fact still stands that the behavior exhibited brought about this kind of string of events. My middle school experience taught me that there was much more to romance than the usual "I like you" statement. It's a commitment that, perhaps unfortunately, I do not feel mentally prepared for. Of course, I've never tried getting into a relationship after that point, so it could possibly be moot.
In a response to a post in a certain topic along the lines of "How's my modding? Answer this poll", I disagree about the inevitability of cliques.
Lately, I've seen increased levels of disdain amongst the Templers, whether within their own group or between the staff and the regular members. This is not just a result of how long a community has existed; by some point, our own behaviors have contributed to this as well.
Several times I have voiced a generally moderate opinion on the staff's crackdown of certain behaviors. It's not to say that I disapprove of what's been going on lately, since it hasn't really changed the overall structure of the Temple, and in actuality I see the sensibility in treating fellow Kradenettes in a positive and protective manner. I mean, it's worked in the past, hasn't it?
However, when I look at every single topic that announces a change in policy, it saddens me. We've become accustomed to what originally brought each and every one of us here, and that differs greatly for a majority of the Temple. A lot of the things that are considered to be iconic moments of the Temple's history have happened even before I came here in 2008. The way some of us react when Steve Heiden is around still makes little sense to me.
I understand that saying "rape" in a room that has a person who has been raped is extremely controversial, and can be avoided. I understand that pictures of loli disturb some people to the core, and it can have the potential to harm the community as a whole. I understand that establishing certain rules in response to rising complaints is a sensible and obvious action to take. Yet the ultimate irony is that even if these rules help keep the Temple's integrity wholesome, how the staff has voiced those changes has successfully severed connections that some like to believe still exist.
I have no objections to the rules. What I do have an objection towards is the behavior that follows it, namely how the staff has treated its members as of late. I don't have a problem with them stating why they make these changes.
What I do have a problem with is how the staff has been stating it.
Remember how we had this hubbub about name changes and the cbox? We've even been mentioning the existence of cliques then as well. It starts with an announcement or sorts from the staff as a whole, usually discussed beforehand in the closed-off staff forum. Then there are the usual approvals and disapprovals, and sometimes things get a little tense with elaborating each other's opinion. Then it gets ugly; people start addressing other people in negative ways in order to prove their point. The staff is just as responsible for this as the younger members. Proving points becomes invalidating other's opinions. Invalidating other's opinions begets criticism.
And that's the problem: when a member is voicing an unpopular opinion, it's not questioned; it's criticized. I'm not saying that criticism is wrong, but there have been instances where this has been used to shut down another person rather than help them improve; it's become a form of hazing. Speaking from a personal standpoint, I understand the absolute loathing that's conjured from the pit of one's stomach once they've been criticized. It doesn't help a person to be criticized for having a different opinion; in fact, that does the opposite. Numerous times in the announcement forum I have held my face in my palm as the staff perpetuate the tension rather than stifle it. I shake my head in disbelief when someone feels that their opinion is being ignored even when the staff is "answering" it. That's not constructive, that's plain dissing. That's not keeping the Temple wholesome, that's keeping the Temple segregated. For [radio edit]'s sake, most of our members aren't even in college; no one is equally tolerant of degradation aimed towards them. It's extremely difficult to understand someone when you're telling them to "grow a pair".
So here's why I abstained from that poll: The staff has been a great help in consolidating certain rules, but my opinion of them as people with good intentions keeps me from fully appreciating what they say to other people as a result. People have mentioned the possibility of cliques existing. I disagree: there are cliques in the Temple community. They are not a result of time, they are a result of our ignorance.
I recognize that not every staff member nor every member is guilty of this. Nor will I single out anyone who is responsible for doing this. However, the behavior exists and it must be stopped if we want the tension to ease between one another. And I have hope that this will change.
I have owned a PSP Go for five months now. I have also owned a PSP 2000 since 2008. Interestingly, I use my Go more than the 2000, and I find that it fits my needs more appropriately. Now, before you declare me insane for even considering to buy the Go, let me say a few things that some of you might be overlooking.
First, I'll speak of the price. Yes, it cost $229.99 when I bought it off of Amazon. Yes, I could have gotten a 3000 for at least $60 less. However, think about it: Does that 3000 come with a 16GB memory stick? No, it doesn't have ANY memory to start with, and you have to spend more money in order to match the memory of a PSP Go. In fact, the 16GB Memory Stick Pro Duo costs $60 on Amazon.
Second, the UMD affair. Luckily, I do not own many tangible games (eight total) for my 2000 in order for me to be too attached to the system. In fact, I hate UMDs with a burning passion because they remind me of the same clunky cartridges and CDs that clutter my shelves and other shelves across the nation. Additionally, because of the PSN, the available games are at no risk of being sold out. Why else do you think I was attracted to this alternative? Yes, it's not a PSP 2 or anything revolutionizing like that, and perhaps that is being unfairly vented upon the Go. Now, I understand that many other people here are more attached to tangible product and UMDs so that they can either resell them for whatever reason they come up with or just plain like touching the product they own. I can understand why people would not be interested in the Go because of that, and I am not trying to convince you that the Go's better. Just hear me out for a bit because there's a good reason to buy the Go under certain circumstances.
Third, the digital downloading. Personally, I love it. It's the best thing that's happened to me since videogames in general. I have no qualms against digital content, and this is to my own advantage and not yours. I understand that not all of the PSP games (especially not the full version of Rock Band Unplugged) are available on PSN right now. That is made up for by the PS one classics, with FFIX being recently released to be alongside FFVII, FFVIII, and the no-slow-down FFT (though the translations are just as bad as you remember them). Old games like Crash Bandicoot, Spyro the Dragon, and Castlevania reappear as a portable option too. Additionally, the PSN downloads system is surprisingly flexible. Technically, I can download the game off of my account as many times as possible, and that can lead to some loopholes in the system itself, and it is to my advantage. If I had a PS3, I could have the PS1 classic on both systems.
Another thing I like to point out about PSN is that the Media Go application acts like a sort of iTunes for your media as well as your games/gamesaves. You can use that to download games and such (at a much faster speed than directly onto the PSP, mind you), and from there you can manage games and gamesaves between PSPs. Yes, I know that the regular PSP can access PSN too, and that brings me to my next point.
Fourth is portability.
I do NOT like having a long uncomfortable bulge that is not my erection in my jeans pocket. Even if it's a multimedia machine, the PSP is first and foremost a portable gaming system. The PSP Go meets that definition to a T, being slightly larger than an iPhone while able to hold 16GB worth of media. And it fits comfortably in my pocket. This was an issue that I had with my previous PSP, and I recognize if yo do not have the same problem, so more power to you.
I do NOT like having to risk carrying my UMDs around during extensive trips or basically when I'm not home. Like I described earlier, It's not easy to lose downloaded games on PSN: Even if you accidentally delete the game, you can easily download it again at no cost. That is not the case with UMDs, new or used. If you lose or damage them, that's it. You need to buy a new one.
But wait! Remember how I said that the PSP can also download from PSN and be managed in Media Go? Now think about how much memory you're working with here. If you were like me with the measly 2GB stick, you would understand the limitations of even that. You can probably hold a maximum of... 4-5 games within the 300-500MB range before you start running into problems. Of course, with the Media Go, that problem can be easily solved by rotating the games, so perhaps even a 2GB stick can be used effectively alongside UMDs. But to serve my interests, I would rather have an extensive library at my hands rather than rely on my computer or redownloading directly. That, and you're stuck with either getting the UMD or the digital copy, so a fair amount of people will not be using both.
tl;dr I favor the Go more because:
1. The price is totally justified.
2. It gets rid of UMDs and effectively warrants downloaded games
3. It actually fits in my pocket
4. 16 GB of internal memory from the start (with an additional memory stick slot) is very convenient for my desires.
5. More games on a smaller system.
Now, I'm not saying that you should buy a PSP Go; that's ultimately your choice and your money to waste. If you already have a lot of UMDs and PSP exclusive accessories and you just like having tangible things that you own, don't buy it. If you don't, then it's in your interest to look at each system's advantages and disadvantages before making your decision.
Rarely does something get me riled up these days. I like to think that it runs contradictory to the striations of society today, with the internet craze and iPod Touches that seem to infiltrate every public school imaginable in the U.S., where one would think that the degeneration of grammar, manners, and basic courtesy is so far down the drain that you're baffled to find anyone that's still in hold of their integrity. Where, when schools and their teachers and their associated parents would put the enormous pressure necessary for their child to feel "motivated" to succeed just the way they want them to, it would seem ludicrous to find someone that is not very affected by the weight of those expectations. And, when college applications start to become intolerably difficult and the workforce starts becoming unwieldy concerning your interest, one would flip a table in their own frustration. Not to mention the drama that real life is going to ambush us with in the future, outside of school gates and Scantrons, away from a parent's safety and oblivious to adaptation.
Numerous online and offline personality tests seem to label me as one of the following: Prudent, Calm, or Introverted. Often times it's not easy to get an extreme reaction out of me; stubbing toes on my desk leg, telling me that someone got hurt, even certain jokes that would make anyone's stomach hurt for hours on end. I don't slam things when my patience runs thin. Fragile things don't break when I'm legitimately angry. My mom often notes that I have more control over my emotions than most, and that had been exemplified when one of our rabbits died recently. While the rest of the family found this to be ultimately saddening, my own mind had already moved on. Nerves of steel, people seem to call them. It's an invaluable trait when put on the spot, because the ability to calmly think things through while in a dire situation is simply something that a percentage of people cannot do. This emotion is also respected and promoted in other parts of the country as well. You are criticized for shouting "You Lie!" at the President in a fit of passion. Parents would love to have a child who behaves and does as he is told all the time. Teachers love orderly classes without any discrepancies. If you can't control impulse, you can't control your future.
The biggest concern, however, and I've taken notice of this multiple times when things get rough between me and my parents, is that having such a calm attitude is a double-edged sword. It doesn't help that I'm reserved and introverted, either, because it only amplifies the passiveness that results from this combination. I know that it's really, really hard to say no to certain offers, much more my parent's wishes as well. I can understand their intentions, and yet when it conflicts with my schedule I'm still hard-pressed to decline the offer. While it's not difficult to relate to other people, I can hardly imagine doing anything other than listening. In school, of course, this is a valued trait in which the more you listen the more you learn. However, to the extent of not being able to offer input as much as one would like, I'm not exactly the best candidate for a serious discussion or debate, much to anyone's disagreement on this claim. When important people in my life pass away, I'm usually the person who feels the least about the event. As much as my emotions allow me to be resilient to hardship, it also makes me callous to it as well to a certain extent. It's certainly a horribly unfitting thing to be feeling at certain parts of life.
Nevertheless, the implications of any event that occurs in my attention is greatly... dampened. Much like taking strings out of a piano so that it doesn't have as rich (or perhaps as grating) of a sound as you would probably have when you leave it alone. When I found out that I didn't make the honors showcase performance for my music exam this year, I was very disappointed. Even when I disagreed as to exactly why I was disqualified, I can understand that this is merely crying over spilled milk. In fact, my teacher required more time (a whole day) to cool off before getting their bearings together. When I found that I misunderstood a whole section of my music theory exam (and got the whole section wrong because of it), you can bet that I was mentally kicking myself. However, that was that. Hardly a young man such as myself would ever rage over the unfairness that life gives me for long periods of time. That does mean that I'm underwhelmed at the positive things in life, too. It's like I am stuck in the middle of a reaction scale, unable to really explode over anything, but also incapable of getting excited over anything at all or even break down when other are already bawling their eyes out. This, obviously saves me from the hardest edges of societal backlash. This much, I can be content with.
Every once in a while, I'm assigned an online blog assignment by my AP History/English teacher. This is one of many that I have to do.
I've attended two weddings in my lifetime: One when I was still learning long division, and another when high school still scared the crap out of me. Both of them involved aunts on both sides of the family. The first wedding, I was fortunate in the sense that I was young and supposedly cute enough to wear a fancy tuxedo and be the ring bearer. The second wedding, I had improvised the wedding procession for the other couple on the piano, much to their pleasing. Times were joyous, feelings permeated the church rooftops, everyone and everything was profoundly, perhaps excruciatingly gay those days. Clearly, both couples knew, deep down, that they loved each other to the greatest heights imaginable. Both are still married to this day, one of them having a 5-year-old daughter.
I can't really say much about their relationship, however, as neither of them have been married long enough to count as a statistic on the "still married for 20x years" category. Though, according to CDC, 50% of marriages in America end in divorce, with that percentage rising with every successive remarriage. So I'm expected to hear something about a divorce from at least one of the two.
Unfortunately, seeing that my dad now lives in Goleta, nearer to his work, I can guess that there's no repairing what's left of my parent's marriage, if any at all. And, through all these years of juggling my brother and myself between the two, there's little hope for reconciliation. I still wonder exactly how romantic love came into play when they got married. Everything looked so happy back then. Now all they can do is bicker negatively behind each other's backs, and things become tense when they actually come face to face. It has often mystified me how both of them can have such a deep-seated grudge against each other for perhaps the rest of their life.
And that's probably how 50% of marriages work: after several years, the attachment fails to establish itself and things get hideous from there. When, all of a sudden, it is an odious journey just to come back to the house, that's where things fall apart. Tears of no tears, it affects all members of the family. What came from the emotional highs of romantic love crashed in the naturally impossible promise called marriage. Scientists could argue that this is part of human nature, since 97% of other animals often exhibit the same behavior after finding a suitable mate. Once the desire to protect your mate and kids disappear, a male finds it unprofitable, physically, to stay in companionship. Things get harder and harder to keep together. There's simply not enough serotonin in the brain to keep the coupling binded "until death do us part". There also wasn't that much expectation in the family to keep the two together.
Arranged marriages, however, seem to imply the complete opposite. Most of the time, romance is devoid in the first phases of the companionship. A lot of it, instead, has a lot to do with profitability and family bonds. Once you meet your suitor within the month, or perhaps even within the day, it's already determined whether or not you're getting married. The romance sometimes blossoms once you learn to live higher than a cohabiting relationship. And, with better probability than romantic marriages, they become successful and long-lasting. So why don't more people have arranged marriages here in America?
Well, as much as I would love to go to my mother and ask "Do you know any girls that are perfect for me?", I realize that her choice doesn't imply much on my own desires. Her choice bends upon the candidate's capacity to support the family and stay structurally sound in more than just the romantic fashion. It seeks to find something that she knows will work in the long run. She would make a decision befitting of the head rather than the heart. But I'm not saying that that's bad. In fact, for an indecisive sack of hormones such as myself, having a cute girl being chosen for me might not be as bad as I would initially consider it to be. As love tends to be played out, you never know when you're going to be in love in someone. You just know that you are in love. And that's the beauty of an arranged marriage: You're not required the high expectations of romantic marriages just yet. You are given time for a couple to get used to each other being in the same house, and oftentimes this may blossom into something special.
People, given the right amount of time and opportunity, can bond in many shapes and forms. Arranged marriages, with the support of the family but perhaps not your own, have shown, by statistics, to work successfully most of the time. Romantic marriages, on the other hand, can have complete support of the couple, and mostly of the family as well, when (finally) deciding upon marriage. Of course, with reasonable insight, one can tell when someone is compatible for another. On the other hand, love cannot be gauged as it is an impossible concept to control. Then there's the circumstance where marriage is completely out of the question. People have their own desires, but people also have needs that they might not admit to having. You can easily say that romantic marriage represents a couple's true intentions on their love towards each other, but that completely disregards why the divorce rate is so high in this country. You can also easily say that a stable, arranged relationship represents a family manifesting a bond with one another, but that could be at the expense of the couple in question. And so, here be the dilemma: both kinds of marriages are not the perfect methods of relationship, but us as humans seem to glorify the mere idea of it as a social norm for each other, so much as to cast a wary eye upon yourself when you realize you're not married and you're over 30 perhaps 40. And if the love is genuine, and you know that this love will carry on into your aging years, things will go as planned whether you learn to do so within the marriage or confirming it before you commit. In both, however, one has to transcend the boundary of outward appearance and "perfect boyfriend/girlfriend" expectations in order to a relationship to last.
And so, as I walked awkwardly (in an attempt to be orderly) up towards my aunt, both rings in hand, I knew something special was between the two. One does not need to say that they were "romantically" married to know that they were deeply in love.