Category Archives: Blogging

A Little Rant about Games and Food

I have been going through my video games backlog. I finally beat Nova-111 , developed and published by Funktronic Labs. It was a fun addicted little sci-fi puzzle game. I still have yet to collect all the scientists! The game was originally released on 2015 and I bought it a few years ago. I played it on Steam which it’s currently on sale for $2.49 until July 7, 2022! Woah what a deal. For that price, it’s better than going to the theme park and/or it is a good substitution for anti-depressant pills. It’s a feel good game that gives you that lighthearted solitary escape. Then again, this game appeal to me because I’m an introvert who don’t do well in crowds and no, that doesn’t mean I suffer from social anxiety. It is also available on Switch, PS4, Xbox One (I just read this paragraph again and laughed. I wish I was advertising but I am not. I can only sell what I genuinely like).

I thought I would do a little review for it, but I didn’t have much to say about it other than it’s great if you are looking for a turn-based game that progressively gets harder. The end boss took me about an hour before I finally learned the moves and strategy. I became so good at it that when I played the stage again, it only took me 5 minutes or so to beat. It’s just show that practice makes perfect. No one is born good. Anyone can get better if they keep practicing. I am only saying this because I realized that as a kid, I used to be very harsh on myself. Everything had to be perfect. Isn’t it a silly mindset? If you always feel inadequate, you will never find happiness or contentment. This realization makes me a lot more happier.

I still feel that I could go back and replay the game, but I decided to move on because I don’t really care about improving my scores/grades and getting all the trophies like I used to. Actually, I don’t care about ranking up in leaderboard. I am just glad that I am reducing the size of my gaming backlog, but more importantly playing games thoroughly until I am satisfied.

Ending for Nova 111
Noval-111. I appreciate when devs say thank you to the player; after all there is a human behind the screen

The sad truth is that when you become an adult it means your life priority changes. The little things I used to take for granted– my parent’s cooking. I have not came across a restaurant that serves pine mushroom soup. Let alone, my mom’s recipes. I am missing it a lot. I do struggle finding a good meal that I noticed my attention lately have been leaning toward researching recipes and prepping meals rather than researching on how to defeat a difficult boss. I learn tons and feels accomplished when I do find a decent meal, but so far none hit the spot like my parents’ food. I don’t know why, but eating well has been my top concern. There’s something about fruits and vegetables and lean meat that I gravitate towards (I am not a vegan or vegetarian as some people might mistake. I do enjoy seafood), I learned that Western diet, particularly American is not the most healthiest (my body can only take so much diary products). So, my attention these days has been focused on food and not games-which means I don’t have much to write about. Unless you want to read up on my cooking progress? I definitely no expert when it comes to cooking/baking, but at least I am trying.

Attempted baking on 2018. . Even though cookies weren’t pretty, it was still good with a glass of milk.🥛 I still have yet to find a good cookie recipe that won’t clog my arteries.

Speaking of games, I went back to playing Dark Souls DLC and Drakengard 3 and plan to focus on my unbeaten games for Playstation3. Finally, I might be able to write something about Yoko Taro games in greater detail. They are thought provoking and weird. You can find my notes here. However, a part of me feels like I have outgrown all that “deep thinking” stuff. Not to say, I have the answers to life’s mystery (woah such a bold statement. I feel like I know nothing at all), but the older I get, the more pragmatic I become and I am okay with that. It keeps me curious. It keeps me entertained because I get bored easily. Did I just contradict myself? I am only human. Why do we have to be so complex?

That is it for this week’s rant. Thanks for listening to my shenanigans. It’s not much. Normally I post on Monday, but it really depends on my mood now. Until next time, see ya!

Code Vein Avatar in Photo shoot
Halsdoll in Code Vein

Some Halloween Posts for you Festive Folks

There are times when I feel motivated to write and then there are times where I feel uninspired to write especially around the holiday. I am not all that festive but I tried to be because a holiday is a great reminder that we should celebrate and have fun. Today, I am taking the easy route by recycling some older posts I have written.

It may seem as if I would never run out things to to talk about for Halloween because horror is my favorite genre, but this past two years since Covid-19 happened, I am just not in the mood for horror and dark. I think we seen enough of it in the media when people start dropping like flies or at least I have seen enough in my life. There is time to grieve and there is time celebrate. These days, I want to celebrate life without ignoring that we are living in scary times. For mental health’s sake, I find myself attracted to games like Tales of Xilia on the PS3, which I bought about 7 years ago! The game is about a goddess saving infants from playing with dangerous toys. Okay being sarcastic. Actually, I borrowed the words from the game! So far from what I am gathering, the female lead, Milla Maxwell is trying to protect the world from a mass destructive weapon. How does this game fits into celebrating life? Well, it’s about protecting the world and living in harmony with nature. What did you think? Did I make a great saleswoman?

Enough ranting, here are some horror-related posts you might have missed if you are new to my blog:

We got so many options these days to be entertained but too many options sort of discourage me from binging shows on Netflix. I have seen a few decent films but not enough to write about it:

  • Level 16 directed by Danishka Esterhazy (on Netflix)
  • Fear Street Part One: 1994 directed by Leigh Janiak (on Netflix)
  • The Thing (2011) directed by Matthijs van Heijningen Jr. (on Prime Video)

As for T.V shows, I finally finished Twin Peaks season 1 and 2, and Death Note the anime. So stay tune for Death Note review but I haven’t decided to write up on Twin Peaks. It’s a great show. Most people know that by now. If there’s a show you think I might like, please leave a comment and I’ll check it out.

Until next time, Happy Halloween. Can’t wait to buy discount Halloween candy!

What’s in a Name?

What was supposed to be a hobby and a side activity has now become a passionate pastime or it’s just I’m addicted to writing. I put so much effort into crafting my blog posts and have found so much joy in doing it. Fishing for metaphors is an art form in itself. And yet, it’s just not looking for metaphors, I also appreciate everything artistic about the making of films, TV shows, books, and video games. I like all forms of art and enjoy critiquing it. Have I ever thought of becoming a critic or a writer myself? Not really because attempting to consume what has already been produced may take a life time to discover and appreciate. Plus, I have the attention span of a child to even sit and write a book. On the other hand, writing lyrics, poems and reviews comes more naturally. Articulating my thoughts into a post is my ideal of fun. And why not do it with style? Did some readers actually thought I was attempting to write masterpiece reviews? That’s quite laughable. I’m flattered.

This bring to the question, why I choose to write as Halsdoll and not my real name after contemplating whether I should use my real name or not. After all, the hard work should go to its rightful owner. In addition, I feel like I owe an explanation whenever I introduced someone I know in person to my blog. They may be puzzled by the name but are too afraid to ask: Why Halsdoll?

“What is in a name?” I quote Romeo and Juliet by Shakespeare. Plenty, it’s about branding. The name Halsdoll was inspired by Shakespeare’s characters from Henry IV Part II: Prince Hal and Doll Tearsheet. The name was created as a joke. You see, Prince Hal understood the world by visiting Mistress Quickly Inn and Doll is one of the working girls. It really is no place fit for a soon to be king, but what may seem like an unproductive pastime activity actually served him fruitful information on his subjects. Yes, of all the place, a brothel. If you want to be a respected leader, you learn from the bottom up. It’s humorous and humor is what keeps me sane. I could elaborate, but this is no academic blog for a lengthily research paper behind the meaning of my pen name (as if who cares?). Plus, I just like the sound of Halsdoll. It sounds like the name of powerful medication, a clothing brand, or the brand of a cosmetic product. It’s a nice staged name for all my nonsense stuff on this blog.

So after much thought about whether using my real name to sound professional and build credibility with my readers, I decided to stick with my pseudonym. Perhaps, one day I may reveal my name when my blog grow big. In the meantime, I just like being Halsdoll. The name reminds me to never let the inner child in me die because the grownup world is nothing but filled with heart-attack stress and the sad part is we don’t have to make it that way but we do it anyway.

P.S.

This post was inspired by a Twitter email notification, hinting to me that I should use my real name because people feel more comfortable interacting with someone real. I do want this blog to grow. However, a hacker once said to me that my birth name doesn’t sound real, so what’s the irony in that?

I Am Back with A Poem (Blog Update)

I’m back. Still adjusting to new environment. But to keep my blog on schedule and because this is somewhat of a poetry/ gamer’s diary/unconventional review blog (its existence serves as a dialogue between two people to keep myself from talking to myself once upon a time in downtown Seattle), I wrote a poem for my re-entry to posting weekly, which was on a Monday 12:00 A.M Pacific Time (excluding this post) to be exact. Moving forward, changing it to Monday 12:00 A.M Central Time. I like to be on the dot. Please enjoy this poem I wrote on a whim.

Is There Fall in the Midwest? by Halsdoll

Like an arrow, I go.

Like moths flapping towards

A glow.

The sun pops;

It explodes.

Summer is almost gone

But still hot

And fall won’t come

gradually…

No.

Here, in the Midwest

the light

switch off or on

Cold.

***

The Midwest is now home because that is where my partner is. It’s different from where I grew up but it’s a nice change in pace and it’s not so bad minus the heat. Hence, why I wrote the poem. The good news though is that it’s a lot quieter than the city life surely. Noise pollution should be a crime. Now I wake up to hearing birds and not ambulance siren, which means I can write more! Peace and quiet is how I like it. I don’t know if this place will be my final destination. Never in my wildest dreams thought I’d end up here. One day…maybe I’ll return to the rain and the hills next to the sea or retire up in the mountains and become a mountain woman with working internet signal. I got to keep this blog rolling after all because I am here for the long haul.

At the moment, I am still playing Dark Souls 2 Scholar of the First Sin, reading Persuasion by Jane Austen and watching Twin Peaks with my partner for the first time. As I mentioned before, so many content to consume with so little time apart from having bazillion other hobbies such as cooking. That’s why my gaming backlog is small. Still have yet to complete Mass Effects, Dragon Age, Tales of Xilia for the PS3 and some indies games I bought on Steam, which I may never get around to. I like to take the time to appreciate a piece of work and play them thoroughly. It’s much more rewarding than just buying and never consuming it. Perhaps that’s why many of us create blog in the first place because we have an overwhelming amount of things to consume which takes us away from having a social life or many of us just want to be lost in our own thoughts and hope someone would listen to us? I mean this blog is conversational for a reason even though I don’t expect readers to engage with me in the comment section. My goal is to make the reader think. Thinking is what make people, people right? Part of the reason why I take the time to appreciate a piece of work is for thinking purposes. It benefits both the consumer and the creator. Making things to make money is death to both the creator and the consumer. That’s my personal take on creative works. Anyway…

I like to keep my promise. Coming up is my reflective review on Taxi Driver (2017) directed by Jang Hoon. Until next time, I leave you folks with a photograph of my moving trip. Yellowstone Park was beautiful minus the tourists like me. So I tried to take pictures with no people in it.

More than a nice stroll in the park

Ranting about Dark Souls II Videoclip & Blog Updates

I should have been writing, but I got distracted with this game and did video editing for fun. I plan to platinum this game since I did it for Demon’s Souls and Dark Souls. The shiny platinum might look pretty amazing and it gives me something to look forward to during this upcoming fall–cooler weather means more gaming time. However, partly the main reason why I have not been writing is due to moving. I have been busy packing, getting ready for the big move, which means less time to write or schedule posts in advance.

There are few worthy shows I watched this past few days and are the process of writing. One of them in particular is A Taxi Driver (2017), a historical Korean drama. Out of all the streaming sites, Prime Video is winning because they know me pretty well enough to recommend films I like.

In the meantime, for my weekly post, I put this amateur treasure guide together for fun as I have been obsessed with treasure hunting more than obtaining the object itself in Dark Souls II. It’s quite addictive as I mentioned briefly on one of my souls’ posts. I am sure I have a lot to extract from this game and have much to say about it once I complete it entirely.

Will resume to normalcy once I get things situated. Most likely late September or early October.

P.S

I have successfully moved out of the city as of Aug. 31st. Wrote this post awhile ago. Now need time to adjust to new environment.

Why I Chose to Blog and Not Vlog as A Female Gamer and What I’ve Learned along the Way

I finally reached my 100th post a couple weeks ago and it had me thinking where I want to do with my future content or whether I would move to a different platform. That has been on my mind as I do enjoy creating content. But if I want to eventually generate revenue, vlog might be the better option for me to support my craft full-time. I did purchase a SEO handbook but it didn’t apply to what I want to accomplish for this blog. In fact, it left me feeling even more depleted and let’s not even talk about the marketing side, I already feel overwhelmed.

According to the SEO book, which I will not advertise, the success of a blog is measured based on making money. Well, I am far from that. I came into blogging like many people because I enjoy writing as a creative outlet. So the likeliness of making money is pretty darn slim since I’m not writing to a particular audience. As mentioned before, this blog has been a very good friend. Even if it’s just talking into the void as many amateur bloggers would often fear, sometimes it’s nice to get things off the chest as if you are talking to someone. I still have yet a lot to learn how to balance creativity with business if I eventually want to make passive income from what I naturally enjoy doing.

When I started writing for my old blog back in 2016, which actually titled Halsdoll.com, (It really is my pen name inspired by Shakespeare’s play Henry IV: Part II) I just wanted to share poems and connect with like-minded folks or just have someone to talk to. Fellow female bloggers I followed at the time were either students or lonely first-time moms. They enjoyed reading about games but preferred posts about self-care, beauty products haul and books. Those things are enjoyable to read but it is not the content I want to create. All I wanted to do was discuss games and write poems to fill up the quietness of the lonely evenings I had to endure after work. But those days have passed. Now I write with a purpose. Meaningful conversation is hard to come by especially for those who do a lot of solo activities.

I realized there are two types of female gamers: one who plays to past time (no wonder there are so many beautiful women who stream on Twitch) and one who are enthusiast about the medium. I fall into the second group. Finding a group of passionate gamers, especially female players who appreciate game for its creativity and aesthetic is hard. And what made it more alienating is that I am not at all a competitive gamer despite the fact I like fighting and challenging video games. Speed run and rank never meant anything to me in video games, unless I’m working on a trophy just to complete it for completion’s sake. If anything, I’m competitive against myself. I prefer teamwork than competitive play if I have to play with people.

Then I started to cater my writing towards the gaming enthusiasts. Writing for an audience that I am not familiar with was difficult. I had to be mindful of my thoughts but soon begin to feel weary and tired. I did not want to engage in battle of the sexes debate such as objectification of women in video games and neither did I want to make false accusation and assumption about the opposite sex. Labeling people is something I dislike, so I tried to avoid it because it causes prejudice and discrimination, which unfortunately everyone has experienced some form of discrimination in their lifetime. It’s just how the world is. Humans are visual creatures. For instance, I have been referred to being a damsel in distress by many people. I often wonder why that is the case. Then I realize representations in media do matter very much. In fact, if I could pick a video game character I resemble most is Elena from Pandora Tower. She has some form of disability but she makes it up with emotional strength and intelligence. But to the average person, many would assume she is just a silent object or just a support role for the heterosexual male. I personally never thought of her as a silent object. I never thought of myself as one. I thought she was pretty strong. Maybe it’s time for people to reevaluate what strength means, especially in video games.

pandora-tower-weak strong female character

When playing multiplayer games, I noticed the discrimination. As a gamer, I like to play as an offense player. I noticed the authority I get from players when they assumed I’m a guy. It felt nice when they asked for tips and they looked up to me. Rarely do I get a pushback. But if they know I’m female, then the tone becomes a bit different. What I have learned through this experience is that online interaction is just a miniature world of the real world and I don’t know how I feel about it. I think that’s part of the reason why I prefer gaming alone, figuring things out myself. It’s a sense of achievement. However, the downfall of playing alone is that it’s hard to make gaming friends. In the online world, rarely do I see female players discuss games for the sake of games which is why I don’t mind doing my Video Game Shopping List posts. They tend to be more casual and popular among readers. I think the last thing people want to do is read academic papers on video games. As much I love to study, even I get turned off by such content unless it’s insightful and full of humor. Video game is a form of entertainment not some scholarly text.

Playing games by myself made me realize that I once fell into the misconception that being female meant being the weaker sex based on how people treat me in person (well, I can’t blame them because I do travel alone a lot for someone as small as I am). But I learned that my gender has nothing to do how good or bad I am with games. It made me realize that I am as capable as anyone if I set my mind to do something. Discrimination happens when we create a mental shortcut to process information, so it’s natural to think our female kind is the weaker sex, but “weaker sex” has nothing to do with intelligence. Intelligence is just another form of strength. And liking a certain type of game doesn’t reflect superiority. One is more relationship based than strategy based. That’s all there is to it.

“Women love romance-related content. It’s nothing new.”- from √Letter.

√Letter Visual Novel for PS4
There’s some truth to this statement, but overall, it’s a sexist statement. Guys like romance too. That’s what I have learned from reading people’s blog and I think it’s pretty cool.

I guess what I am trying to get at with this whole discrimination talk is that my blog has been a sanctuary for me to express myself, and as a result I am happy. As the saying goes, “Do what you love, and love what you do.” I have been enjoying myself so far, fishing for metaphors (okay that sounds pretty cheesy but I just love to rhyme!) As mentioned earlier, I have considered other platforms so that I could reach the right audience but I like blogging so far because writing helps people become better thinkers. I also learn more through reading anyway when it comes to exchanging information, which is why I chose blogging over vlogging.

I will continue to write about films, T.V shows and books, but niche video games have always been my biggest interest. It’s the game design and the thought process behind the making of games is what intrigued me, but more importantly, it asks tough questions and sees the world from an outsider perspective. For that reason, I always have a lot to say. What I’m really searching for is meaning in the media and that’s what this blog is all about.

I probably won’t publish many gaming content as it requires a decent amount of time gaming and the fact I only play a few games per a year and I play it thoroughly to give it an accurate rating. I mentioned about games because it’s my main hobby and it is just something to be expected in the future for this blog because my backlog is going no where. I could do streaming like most gamers but I don’t see myself as an entertainer. When I play games, I like to take my time. I play to think as oddly as it sounds.

If you are new to my blog, please check out some of my favorite posts I wrote in no particular order:

Thanks for reading. It feels nice to get some stuff off of my chest.

-Halsdoll

Halsdoll’s News: My Blog Reach 100 followers! Thank you!

The constant environmental stimulation coming from downtown Seattle area is hard to avoid. I’ve been in Seattle for some time now and it seems like it’s getting worse. In the beginning of 2020, there was a gunfire shooting on 3rd Ave that killed civilians. And with current national news in the U.S, it doesn’t seem to get any brighter. Asian-American hate crime is on the rise. Even more scarier is targeting against Asian-American women. It’s very tiring and mentally exhausting that I feel it’s okay to withdraw from the society and shut myself in and watch martial arts films and play games to save my sanity. No news is ever good news it seems.

The view of Wine and Tapas Bar (a.k.a co-worker’s apartment). My co-workers kindly took me in after I visited a Tarot Reader, ranting to them on how I felt so lost in life. And then the pandemic hit a few months later (photo taken on 06/07/2019)

Okay that’s just an excuse for my introversion. Even if there’s no crime–I would still withdraw from the society to enrich my soul with activities that bring me a lot of joy. But I hope you enjoyed reading my dire news introduction for this blog post.😜

On the bright side, this blog has become a very good friend. And now I finally reach 100 followers. Wow that’s pretty awesome. 100 people actually thought my blog is cool enough to follow. Hello, thanks! Nice to meet you!

I am also proud to have published a total of 91 posts (92 if I included this post) which were thought out carefully. Not so bad, considering the fact I was suffering from mental fatigue. I’m in better health now ever since I started cooking and eating properly; and learning to accept that there are some things in life we simply just have no control of.

I know blog would grow faster if I collaborate with other bloggers and follow SEO rules, but I prefer to work alone and figure what works and what doesn’t for myself. Plus producing high quality reviews is more important to me than growing blog massively. But with the right person, I might consider. If you are like me, you have a taste for fine things. You search for real connection and authenticity in the entertainment world or in life generally. I’m also assuming, you’re looking for meaningful content as well as creating it. There’s more to life than just a name; I mean fame.

So what to expect for the future of this blog?

  • Will continue to write insightful reviews
  • More creative posts to come
  • Will continue to post once a week since I think it’s manageable for my schedule (consistency is key to successful blogging)
  • In depth analyses on books and games (More quality content would be produced though if this was a full time job)

Pretty much, I am here for the long haul and so far, I’m very proud of this blog. As they say, when you take ownership of your craft, it adds more value to you than going to work for a paycheck and in return, I hope my content can offer something of valuable to you as well.

Well that’s it for now. Stay tuned for my honest, awesome insightful reviews. Until next time, see you ~

CODE VEIN_Action-RPG
Halsdoll playing a tune in Code Vein, an action adventure anime-like RPG game

Blog Update # 2

Four years ago, I had a very bad headache. Four years fast forward, I still have a bad headache. It’s close to election day and the news make my brain dizzy. I am going to take a break from blogging. I guess I am suffering from writer’s block or it’s just am awfully tired. I thought I was doing well by being consistent and I really had fun doing it because I have become an expert at making myself laugh. Right now I just want to focus on Resident Evil 2 Remake, do some housecleaning, eat properly so I don’t completely disappear from this planet. I’ll come back with analysis of Resident Evil 2 Remake because I am enjoying it so far. Surely as I have a lot to say.

It’s so funny that a few years ago I created a blog to connect with the world and here I am still existing because I need to connect with people. Social distancing is not new to me as I have been doing this for years now. Strangely I feel less lonely even though I am isolated from the rest of the world. I just want to focus on my games and take it easy. I will still be here to read people’s posts.

See you guys when I am done with Resident Evil 2 Remake. It might not make it back on Halloween, but you can always follow me on twitter @beriwink 😀 And if you are here for the first time, hi hello, we can be blogging friends, but bye for now!

P.S

I promise I am not ditching my readers for a game. It’s really for health reason. 😀

Ranting about the Word Rant

Don’t want my blog to die. Might have to do CPR to revive it so I am doing my best to be consistent! Today’s post is more of a rant. I learned that these days people rant more than they review products. The term review might be just too old school and uncool. Because English is not my first language, I just had to double check its meaning with Google dictionary (maybe not the greatest source).

According to Google dictionary a rant is to:

speak or shout at length in a wild, impassioned way.”she was still ranting on about the unfairness of it all”

Whereas, Merriam-Webster dictionary defines rant as:

1: to talk in a noisy, excited, or declamatory manner

2: to scold vehemently

When I first started my blog a few years ago, one of my devout readers didn’t know what my blog is all about because I just posted whatever that came to my mind–mainly about games and poems. She mentioned my blog as a ranting blog so I didn’t know whether it’s a compliment or an insult because the word sounds bad to me. Thinking back, my intention for my blog was created as way to distract myself from talking to myself. So technically, she was right. I was ranting, rambling incoherently about the things I consumed and in the process, I discovered many things about myself that I didn’t know. So ranting is not such a bad word after all!

I hope you enjoy this rant even though it went no where. Isn’t that the purpose of a rant? 😀 Well it’s almost Halloween. My furry stuffed animals and I say hello and bye bye for now.

Blog Update

Oh my lord my eyes are about to fall off. I’ve been staring at the screen all day (work related) and just finished organizing all of my blog posts so it’s easier to navigate. Apparently, all the education I ever needed was in elementary! I learned the alphabets so I can put things in order and retrieve data easier. I must say my mental fog has swift away! The secret? The secret lies in organizing things! You don’t need a therapist, you just need a blog! It’s cheaper too, HAHA!

On a serious note, today is 9/11 Memorial. I wonder if all the days in a calendar are taken. Every day is a precious day, so try to be happy.

That is literally my painting of me cat version

Bye Bye now.