Tidying Up and Sweeping My Thoughts

I am guilty of taking the easy route by not coming up with something fresh like I normally do for my weekly post. Normally, I think about what I want to write but not this time. I’m allowing my mind to roam despite my best effort to attempt decorating my blog with Halloween topics. I found myself uninspired and motivated to write about witches, wolves, demons, clowns, etc. However, around this time of season, I did enjoy free candy and horror shows as a kid, but I was never the type who go out of my way to dress up for the occasion. I remember I went trick or treating in my normal clothes with my friend from school in my neighborhood when I was about 12 years old. One of the neighbors was shocked and asked us why we didn’t dress up. I believe I said I’m dressing up as myself. That’s scary enough. He looked disappointed but gave us candy anyway. Ever since I quit celebrating the holiday until a couple of years ago when I learned from my old workplace that dressing up in Halloween costumes can be fun. People from the West Coast are more relaxed and in tune with their inner child than people from the Mid West who seem more fixated on punctuality and clean desks, or maybe I am generalizing. I highly doubt I could find another workplace that has a relaxed culture that resemble a dysfunctional family like the family from the film Little Miss Sunshine or Twin Peaks, although there was no death involved in the workplace. Everyone was on the quirky side and that made me feel at home. I enjoyed my co-workers who brought me a lot of laughter and made me feel warm and fuzzy.

The stuffed animals I accumulated from my co-workers. They just sit on my desk cheering me on. The funny part is I am not really into stuffed animals.

Recently, I had a job interview for a position where I am more than qualified. I knew the interviewer asked me if there were anything else not showing up on my resume. In my head, I thought of my blog. Then she asked me how organized am I on a scale from 1 to 10. That question stumped me because asking a creative person to be organized is the equivalent of asking her to die. Instantly, I knew I don’t belong in that environment. It’s a place full of first time moms who are particular with punctuality and routine. Well, I do understand why. After all, they are dealing with clients’ financial assets so everything has to be organized and structured. I could pretend to be all put together, but I am not all that traditional despite my reserved personality. When I told them I was looking for work-life balance, I wasn’t thinking of starting a family and becoming a mom, I was thinking of having more time for my creative pursuits. I knew on the spot I wasn’t a great fit. It seems that the girls treat each other like family and support life outside of work, but it’s a different type of lifestyle that I had in mind. I could only imagine how stuck I’d feel in an environment where motherhood is everything. I don’t know if I will ever be one. Either way, I’m content just focusing on my creative projects whether it’s gathering my mom’s recipes and turning it into a cookbook, crafting a poem, going for a long walk, writing a short story or finding the perfect wardrobe. Those simple things make me happy.

I could publish more frequently if I talk what’s from the heart because it feels effortless. It’s healthy to do some house cleaning because it’s the reflection of the mind. Then I can go back to enjoying my hobbies and enjoying life. But more importantly, sleep better, which is something I have been struggling for years.

Well that is it for today. Thanks for reading Halsdoll’s Time, where news is often irrelevant, but I hope you can find some sunshine in your life. I shall leave you with this excellent music soundtrack from Little Miss Sunshine.

What Do Damsel in Distress and Bad Boy Tropes Have in Common?

Glad the title caught your attention. If you want a quick answer, they are both annoying. I’m kidding. Please continue reading. It took me a great amount of time to reflect on this subject. Hopefully, you will learn something because I did.

I don’t hate the damsel in distress. I think some of them are quite intelligent and resourceful like Elena from Pandora Tower (Nintendo Wii).  What she lacks in physical strength she makes it up with brains. She balances out the protagonist pretty well. Contrary to what most people think of the damsel of distress, it’s not her timid personality or lack of backbone that bothers me, although that can be equally as annoying when she expects everyone to rescue her. However, it’s her unwillingness to help herself sort out her emotions is what I don’t like. My definition of the damsel in distress might look very much like the character, Juno, from the anime Beastars who barks and demands things to go her way. Why does she need to prove herself to society? She is already on top of the food chain. She is strong. So why does she need a man to protect her unless she doesn’t feel that she is enough? Another example is Aelinore, the queen from Dragon Dogma (PS3). I remember one quest called the Duchess in Distress, I had to carry her because she doesn’t want to get her feet wet! It’s so off-putting, and it must be a joke to the ambitious men who will do anything to climb the hierarchy class. I get the humor. I remember I laughed. However, as a woman, assisting Aelinore was twice the work, twice the burden. No reward other than me being closer to a dead weight myself.

Surprisingly, the same thing can be said about male characters, the bad boy type. The guy needs a woman to help him navigate through the world because he can’t rationalize and reason with himself to see the world in a better light. He needs a woman to save him from his wrath. These types of men were typically raised by strong women when the father figure is on the passive side or completely absent from their lives. I sympathize with the situation. However, they can’t possibly expect the woman to save them from their short falling, do they?

Maybe he is not necessarily a bad boy…but his pouty personality was always a turn-off for me.

In video games (mainly Japanese games), I rarely see games played from the perspective of a woman, and not having male traits with a woman’s body like 2b from Nier Automata does not justify a solid woman’s character. Well, duh…she is an android. So, it’s hard to pull an example from video games on what bad boys are like when you’re always playing from a guy’s perspective, and if you are a guy, you always think you are right. Take Ryo Hazuki from the Shenmue franchise as an example, he travels to Hong Kong so he can kill the guy who has murdered his dad! That doesn’t seem like a good guy’s trait! But he is surprisingly a nice guy who just needs a little guidance. Don’t we all do?

Ryo gambling
Um…what are you doing Ryo? Dropped out of school, and now gambling for big money in the shady part of Hong Kong? Well, at least you stick to a goal. It’s better than being an indecisive guy.

But if you want to analyze the bad boy on a deep level, you’d find more of them in books written by women. Think of Beauty and the Beast as an example. Unlike the damsel in distress, the bad boy doesn’t seem to be a burden. Instead, he brings out the nurturing side of the woman, and thus it elevates her. Have you ever wondered why so many intelligent women end up with the wrong guy? Well, it’s a classic tale. By saving the bad boy–she feels as if she has won a trophy that set her apart from other women. Sadly, she is mistaken. It’s an imbalance relationship dynamic. When the story is told from a woman’s perspective, the bad boy trope is the same as the damsel in distress when we flip the script. It’s a one-sided relationship when one partner is objectified to make another feel superior while the other is being used because the partner feels incapable of helping him or herself. It’s nothing more than a self-centered relationship for both parties, the more I look at it.

So, what do these two have in common? Well, other than the fact they need constant saving, they are tropes used to mask the rescuer’s deep-rooted insecurity which is self-worth. As the saying goes, it takes two to tango. The rescuer loses his or her self-worth when there are no more people to save. It may be a noble characteristic, but a detrimental one, especially when one is being used by the cry of distress. Now you know why I don’t like these tropes. Their distress may very well be just another form of control (a.k.a. emotional abuse). Sadly, it’s the rescuer who becomes the victim, not the distress.

My Thoughts on Art, Creativity and Blogging

Have you ever wondered why some people who identify themselves as an artist or creative person tend to be on the gloomy side? I often wonder why myself. If you put all the colors together, what will you get? The answer is black! I have yet to find a noncreative person who has never dressed like they are going to the funeral (oh no I’m not talking about tech bros here). It’s so avant-garde to be on the blue side of life. Well, it’s hard not to if you are literally a starving artist! Living a life of uncertainty is not healthy.

I played around with water color pencils. I’m feeling the artist’s hunger to improve. It’s a terrible drawing. Please Note: Artist’s hunger is not the same thing as having low-self esteem.

When I was a teenager, I used to doodle a lot. I used to draw fast sketches of made-up belief people. I even once drew a picture of one of my favorite singers from the band Angelfish and gave it to my art teacher in high school (I’m also a big-time music fan). She loved it. Giving away artwork was my way of compensating her for her time to write me a recommendation letter for scholarships. To be quite frank, it was really part of an English class assignment. It was a way for my English teacher to push kids to go to college. I really had no interest in going to art school or becoming an artist despite the fact I did pretty well in all of the art courses and classes I’ve taken throughout my school life. I remember very well how my art instructor’s eyes lit up when she skimmed through my art journal. She told me to keep a journal because she can tell I am a creative person based on the sporadic font size of my handwriting which never stayed horizontally straight and contained many doodles of random things. She is probably right. She is a professional artist and a scholar after all. To this day, I took her words to heart. Keeping a creative journal allows you to tap into your conscience and give it form. Well, at least that is why I do what I do or attempt to do with this blog as I gather my thoughts and information through writing reviews and sharing it with the public. I want a digital space to house my thoughts, but I often dream of doing something more creative with it.

So, the positive thing about this blog is that it serves me well. It does fulfill that void and lack of creativity in my life. As we all know, creativity is hard to monetize. So just because my blog has been quiet, it doesn’t mean I have abandoned it. Actually, I have been considering moving over to WordPress.org in the near future for my creative needs. I have tried other blogging platforms such as Blogger and Medium because they are more straightforward, but I didn’t like them much. Blogger feels outdated and you wouldn’t be able to find a community like WordPress. As much as I like to blog, I also like to read other blogs as well. Medium, on the other hand, felt like I was joining the rat race. I didn’t enjoy being exposed to articles on how to become a successful entrepreneur and often wonder if that was the type of community it attracts. Blogging about video games would most likely be shunned in that type of environment or ignored. Plus, it never occurred to me that I was trying to be a successful entrepreneur when I started this blog even though I put a lot of effort into writing and editing my blog posts compared to the average blogger. Perhaps, I just fancy myself becoming an exceptional writer one day simply because I enjoy writing. I want to live a peaceful life and write and not join the rat race and die from a heart attack!

Whenever I look back at my blog, I get a warm fuzzy feeling. It has evolved from talking to my plants to turning into something I am very proud of. But I know this blog has been quiet.

picture of a black and white cactus
My cactus is blooming stars (Picture taken by me in 2016).

I just need a little small break to collect my thoughts. Sometimes there are days when I don’t think of anything or consumed anything but just listen to white noise. And when I do feel mentally recharged, I find myself replaying White Knight Chronicles II, re-watching Glask Mask the anime, and reading Lord of the Flies. There’s no particular reason why I chose these particular items. They are just relaxing to me. So, I will be sure to share my thoughts in the near future so I don’t turn this blog into a GHOST TOWN as if it hasn’t already been years, but at least it gives me a safe place to express my true self. What more can I ask?

Well, that’s it for today’s little blog update. With cheer and happiness, see you. 🧸

Gameplay Is Just as Important as Story

If you click on this post thinking it’s about Dark Souls II because of the featured image, I apologize. I couldn’t find a good featured image for today’s little rant.

A long time ago, my brother and I were playing Xenosaga for the Ps2. I remember I would watch him play. It’s a cinematic JRPG with long cutscenes and I liked the story a lot! But when it was my turn to play the game for myself, I skipped all the cutscenes. He gave me a nasty stare and said, “Oh, you are one of those people.” I shot back at him and said, “Why to go through all the cutscenes again when I have already watched you play?” Then he responded, “You have to pay attention to the story to know why you are fighting. It’s part of the game.” With respect, he has a valid point. Having a story can make a game interesting. In fact, some people only play for the story. I don’t think less of those who enjoy video games for the story because my brother is one of those folks who are good at games but mainly play for the story.

However, these past few years, dipping my feet into the indie game world. I noticed a lot of story-driven games that don’t emphasize gameplay, and there is a group of folks who defend such games. I am not all that bothered by it, however, it feels like a slap in the face when someone I come across on WordPress, calls folks like me unsophisticated muscle-heads who think with their fist because we don’t stress about the story.

Avatar inside of a cave in Dark Souls II

I suppose story driven games help people think and make them more socially aware, more socially sophisticated, and civilized as it opens up a dialogue among people. I am not entirely against it. Humanity has come a long way from a monkey brain through years of exchanging ideas, although I don’t think having a monkey brain is such an insult because there are some people out there who are so rational that they start to remind me of a machine (PC) with arms and legs. And if you ask me, I don’t know if they are any better than monkeys because if they are so smart, why are they trying to outsmart each other through debate to the point they destroy the planet altogether with their sophisticated killing toys? I digress.

2b and 9s with Robot in Nier Automata

Anyway, my point being is,video game can be a great place where you don’t have to think and at the same time, think. It’s such a paradox but that’s why I love the medium. Solving problems and strategizing are considered thinking. The point I am trying to make is that gameplay is just as important as the story. For me, it’s a stress reliever. Take gameplay out of the equation, you get nothing more than just an interactive story with some pretty visuals. I have no qualms about it, but just don’t go around hating those who do want a little challenge, a little strategy, a little conquest. Gaming requires a lot of patience. Trials and errors my friend, that’s how we get better.

A-set looking through her social media

For the record, this post is not directed toward anyone in particular. It’s just the information I have gathered over the years observing vocal gamers through the WordPress community attacking things I like. I often ask myself many times as well, why I love horror and challenging games. I don’t know, but it sure doesn’t make me a monster.

Picture Credits: Dark Souls II: Scholar of the first Sin; Nier Automata; and AI_TheSomniumFiles.

The Problem with the “Like Button”

Generally, I am a nice person and dislike complaining, but I am a little irritated. WordPress is a nice safe place to unleash your thoughts, but what gets under my skin is when people press the Like button to promote themselves. Sure thing, I can ignore it but I am only human. Like any normal human being I appreciate it when people genuinely like my content, but don’t appreciate it when people spam likes. To sum it up, no one likes fake followers and WordPress seems to have a lot of that. It doesn’t even bother me if people actually agree with me or not when they press the Like button. What matters most is getting my voice heard. For this reason, I have never really liked the Like button. Anyone can press it and you never know if they actually took the time to read it. For some people who are serious about their craft, writing takes time. Writing is an art form. Organizing your thoughts takes time. So please think before you press the Like button. Press it when you genuinely like it because some people like me take pride in their craft. P.S. To the girl who told me I have a nice blog. Thank you, I think you told me more than once but you probably forgot it because you spam it to every blogger to get more followers.