Tuesday, February 26, 2013

[Jas] Double Feature: Natsume Yuujinchou & Mushishi

I decided to talk about both of these at the same time, because in some ways they are very alike, but in many ways they are exceedingly different as well. I could draw you a venn-diagram, but that would just be silly. They are both rather mellow shows about supernatural entities, but they differ due to lead character differences, and Mushishi can have some creepy undertones as well.

Natsume Yuujinchou:

This is a 4 season long anime that I’ve never thought to watch before until it was suggested vaguely to me during a 6 hour long car ride to a convention. Little did I know I would get wrapped up into it so much that I’d immediately order a Nyanko-sensei plushie off eBay in the middle of watching the show, about half way through the second season! XD

So this story is about a quiet boy named Natsume (duh) who can see youkai. Due to this he was cast out as a child because no one else could see what he could see. His past is actually depressing and all I wanted to do was hug him tightly; though now he does have friends who have come to understand him… except he still hides things from him.

He soon meets my favorite character of all! Nyanko-sensei! Aka the fat lucky cat youkai that helps out Natsume and is a totally drunken fat cat. I LOVE HIM! Oh…I suppose I should mention what the story behind this show is…

Natsume has a book, called the Book of Friends that was left behind by his Grandmother. This book is full of the names of youkai and Natsume wants to give them all back to the youkai.

It’s all so heartwarming and adorable and Natsume is just so lovable!!

There are four seasons of Natsume Yuujinchou:
Natsume Yuujinchou
Zoku Natsume Yuujinchou
Natsume Yuujinchou San
Natsume Yuujinchou Shi

Each follows the other and they are all equally wonderful. There are no huge climatic battles or anything like that. There are subtle emotional battles and overcoming worries and fears. It’s a nice break the normal animes where there are just battle after battle or school girl panties. (Not that those aren’t nice or anything……)


I saw a gif set on Tumblr, and honestly that’s what got me started on this series. (I can't ignore a cool gif set when it appears on my dashboard) After watching the first episode I was hooked. I love the lead guy, Ginko! He is mysterious and totally cool! *swoon* He travels all around to help people plagued by “mushi” which are creatures that live alongside us that not everyone can see. The way they are explained in the show is very interesting, and makes you wonder if something like that really could exist! (Believer in ghosts and what have you right here) They can cause issues for people (Lack of sight, loss of hearing, etc.)

It’s only 1 season long with 25 episodes of pure wonderment. It’s interesting to watch shows like this that seem to be about folklore and spirits. They are my favorite types of anime and I’m really glad that I stumbled upon this one!

It’s darker than Natsume Yuujinchou and I liked that. Sometimes Ginko saves the people plagued with Mushi and other times, things don’t quite work out as they should. You also get to learn some interesting little tidbits along with some myths. It’s paced slowly although it does seem to follow a timeline, aside from a few flash-back episodes (which were awesome and explained what I wanted to know about the lead character~)

The ending wasn’t too concrete, though there was no way to really END the series, since he is still working and doing what he’s doing. It’s that kind of ambiguous ending that I have no problem with, like an open-ended book or something. It’s still an amazing series and worth checking out. I adored all the episodes and watched it while ignoring homework. Oops. 

So….basically what I’m saying is….
These are both series that I highly recommend checking out. I fell in love with both of them! I don’t want to rank them, but I’d suggest Mushishi if you want something mellow yet dark and intriguing. If you are looking for relaxed, sweet, and consistent then I’d suggest Natsume Yuujinchou! Happy anime watching!

[Jas] Con View – Katuscon

Katsucon 19, this past weekend in National Harbor, MD! Let’s start by saying that this isn’t my first time at Katsucon. I went last year for Katsucon 18, although I took a Megabus last year (which wasn’t the best of trips, but that was a monster of it’s own).  Last year was Yu-gi-oh year for our little cosplay group, and it was a blast! I had a lot of really fond memoriesfrom Katsucon last year and I was super excited for the convention this year!  This year, I drove to a friend’s house for a group carpool to the con center itself, which is none other than the Gaylord Resort and Convention Center. It’s LOVELY there, really!!
Photo c/o James Wu

Yellow Jeep road trip time!
Pre-con. I actually only debuted 2 new cosplays for this convention: Riza Hawkeye and Kiki. The other two I had already done and just fixed certain parts of them for the con: Princess Peach and Alibaba (Magi). It ended up being a kinda squished line-up. I had 3 costume changes on Saturday!! @_@ I’ve never done something like that before! Normally I only do one cosplay a day, so I had to try and plan things out pre-con even though there wasn’treally a lot of sewing to be done.

Katsucon! We got to the convention relatively early on Friday morning and since our room wasn’t ready, they gave us a king bed room with a cot instead. Now, this is where the convention drama began. If you’ve been following the tags on Tumblr or Twitter, then you probably know all about the situation that happened the con weekend.

*photographer friend posted photos, started screaming, forgot about this post, oops*

[JT's note: Jas sort of glides through some details that might make things a little confusing.  To get the full reasoning behind her mentioning certain events, such as the gazebo, check out Twitter and Tumblr.]

AWESOME hall cosplay!!
So, anyways. Long story short, the Gaylord was double-booked with two rather large conventions. B'nai B'rith Youth Organization (BBYO) and Katsucon. There was a redic amount of miscommunication between the two cons about space in the hotel, and there was also a lot of hate that got thrown around on each side. Katsucon isn’t innocent by any means, though I don’t think BBYO is totally innocent either, and the Gaylord itself has to share in the blame as well. I didn’t have any bad experiences and everything I have heard is second hand, through posts on Tumblr, Twitter, Blogs, and Facebook. While I was taking pictures on Saturday, we met a large group of BBYO kids and they were really nice! They wanted to take pictures with us and we told them about what we were doing and they all complimented our costumes. They were really sweet! I don’t think barriers were really needed, and since I never really take pictures in the gazebo, I wasn’t going to complain too awful much about losing that space. The gazebo is ALWAYS crowded anyways, it’s nearly impossible to get photos there without a crazy wait. Although, in the end BBYO ended up splitting that floor with us and allowing us to use the gazebo to take photos, which was very considerate of them to allow the shared space. I heard bad things happened to others, but nothing personally happened to me, so I won’t comment about those things.

look at my gay porn yum! :3
The artist alley and dealer room were both awesome! I didn’t buy as much as I do at other cons, and I actually didn’t get ANY blind boxes this time around! :OTHAT IS SHOCKING I TELL YOU! (They actually didn’t have that nice of a blind box selection sadly…nor was there that much food/snacks…DEPRESSING!) OTP was there though, and that was where I spent the majority of my money XD NO REGRETS!! There were a lot of amazing artists in AA and I knew a few people who had tables, so I spent a while in there as well!

I didn't attend any panels this time and instead I spent my time hanging with my friends, roomies, meeting new people, and having photo shoots! I never even really had to drag DSLR around, because I never had any time! So instead…I let Sarah borrow my camera for all of Sunday!!

Although ,I tried to take some pictures out the window while driving of the sunset…needless to say that didn’t work out too well. >_>;;

Cosplay lineup:
Friday: Alibaba, Kiki a little at night
Saturday: Alibaba, Princess Peach, and Riza Hawkeye
Sunday: Kiki (Kiki's Delivery service)

Me, as Alibaba Photo c/o Karina the amazing god-like photographer

Look a pineapple! (inside joke)
Post-con/Conclusion (Katsucon term paper) It was tiring (all them costume changes) But I got to hang out with friends I haven’t seen in AGES and got to meet some awesome new friends as well! I got to work with some AMAZING photographers who put up with all of our crazy nonsense requests and who started cranking out photos before I even unpacked my bags! SO THANK YOU EVERYONE! The drive home was tiring and I HATE TOLL ROADS, DAMN YOU I-76!!! Also, jeep wranglers don't mix well with wind, and I don't like being sandwiched between semi-trucks. (Do you hear all their lovely mating calls? Look at those ones mating right out in the open! THERE ARE PIGS IN THERE PIG BUTTS RIGHT BY THE WINDOW!) And also, spur of the moment storm clouds (What is that? A pineapple.) Aka. You never want to ride in a car with Sarah and I. (We meowed along to about 4 K-pop songs.)

Katsucon2014? Will probably be seeing you then, but, until then…Tekkoshocon is next comingup April 5-7th in the lovely city of Pittsburgh, PA!! 

Thursday, February 14, 2013

[JT] Something a Lil' Different for V-Day

 Happy Valentine's Day, everyone!  So, I'm not one for a) holidays and b) bragging,  but I realized that there is one thing I have never shared with you all; the one thing I ever really felt like I could brag about...

I used to be very into writing poems and song lyrics.  So what I decided to do was to share a piece with you I wrote a few years ago (which was sadly the last thing I have written).  The reason I decided to share it today is because of the subject itself.  Here goes...

Valentine's Gamble or The Queen of Hearts

You know the deal.  Google'd

The heat is rising
Wager my heart this time around
I'm feeling lucky
Bet everything on a slight chance
Is it red or black?
You're the dealer and I'm the fool
Choose evens or odds
Which ever path leads to your side

Take a chance, roll the dice for the queen of hearts
If I win, then romance's not a lost art
If I lose, it wont be long after the start
Let it ride, time to fight for what's in my heart

Eyes of the snake or
Let me keep staring into yours
Jackpot or bankrupt
Straight flush or dead man's hand again
I'll play just one more hand
Suited or just unsuitable?
One card, one last chance
I'll win your heart or lose it all


No more weighing sides
Just let the chips fall where they may
Thrown away my pride
Humbling myself for your sake
Now just close my eyes
Will I bust or catch a break?
Now just close your eyes
Take your hand and spin the wheel of fate


If I bet my heart then I'm all in
It's a bet I don't think I can win
Lady luck no longer at my side
The odds are against me; Let it roll!


Ok, this was arguably a bad choice since this was one in which I kind of experimented my verse-structure, but I still really like how it turned out.  I'd love to hear your feedback. My writing, more than anything, was something I encouraged people to be absolutely brutal with.  Anyway, didn't mean to bog down a V-Day themed post with exposition, but whatever : P

Seriously though, any of you who are reading this: I want to give you a sincerely and deeply heart-felt thank you.  You took the time to read my post, and that means more to me than you will ever know.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

[JT] CGC: Road to a GP

<sing>I'm going to GP Char-lotte.  I'm going to GP Char-lotte.</sing>

Yes.  For any of you who maybe follow my twitter, you already know this.  For those of you who don't (and I don't blame you), I am indeed going to Charlotte next week to play in the GP.  This is the first time I am playing in anything larger than an FNM-esque (i.e. pre-releases and such) event, so I obviously want to try and practice as much as I can!

GP Charlotte is a limited event, meaning Day One of the event is Sealed (build from 6 boosters) and Day Two is Draft (build by picking cards from boosters that are passed around the table).  Now, I am confident in my ability to draft; I'm not great, but in my opinion I'm adequate (or at least I have my moments).  The problem, however, is that to even get to draft, I have to make Day Two.  That means I have to make it through the Sealed portion on Day One.  Since Sealed events are held less frequently than Draft, I obviously want to practice Sealed.  So I'm just going to head down to my local game shop an- ... oh.  Their drafting all month except the first night of the GP?  Oh well.  I had to work last Friday and again this Friday anyway (-_-).  I don't use MtG:O either.  Hmmm...  oh well.  So much for practicing.  Guess I'll just scrap this who-


Now hold on a sec.  Maybe... yeah... yeah this could work!  A while ago, either on an episode of Limited Resources or during coverage of a Magic event (maybe the Players' Championship?), there was discussion of a competitor who would practice his drafting by swapping out single cards from a booster and evaluating each one like a completely new pack.  Why can't that work for me for Sealed? ... but I need some boosters.  6.  No no no.  9!  Yeah.  9 boosters...  but where am I going to get 9 boo-

"Well would you look at that?" - Alton Brown

All the goodies...

Ok.  So for those of you that don't know, M:tG has a product known as a fat pack, which has 9 boosters and other goodies.  For sets where I don't buy a box (which will be most of them from now on I think), I buy a fat pack.  Most of the time, I just get a fat pack for the fun of it.  This one on the other hand, is going to serve a very special purpose.  This is how I am going to practice .

As I said before, Sealed uses 6 boosters, which means there are 3 extra boosters in this fat pack that won't be used in the Sealed "pool" (all the cards you open that you can build your deck from).  Those 3 extras are the key to making this practice work.  Let's say we separate our packs to give us Sealed Pool 1.
Sealed Pool 1

Great.  Now let's say we swap one of the three spare packs with one of the packs in our pool, like so:
Sealed Pool 2
We now have a completely new Sealed pool.  What if we had swapped with a different pack?  Well then we would have a third pool...
Sealed Pool 3
See?  By swapping just one spare pack, I now have access to 6 different Sealed pools.  We have 3 spare packs, meaning 18 Sealed pools.  We have even more by swapping more than 1 pack at a time.

So my training is going to be building random Sealed pools and making what I believe to be the best deck from this.  From now until the GP, I am going to try and post new pools every few days so you guys can critique my building strategy.  Obviously it would help if you new what the rest of the pool was before seeing the decks, so here is a breakdown of what was in each pack from this fat pack (foils are not designated to show off.  They are there to show why some rarity ratios are off):

Pack 1:
Cloudfin Raptor
Aerial Maneuver
Spire Tracer
Kingpin's Pet*
Slate Street Ruffian
Ember Beast
Gruul Guildgate
Wildwood Rebirth
Foundary Street Denizen
Gruul Keyrune
Cackling Perimeter
Simic Fluxmage
Treasury Thrull
Pack 2:
Angelic Edict
Shadow Alley Denizen
Scab-Clan Charger
Leyline Phantom
Purge the Profane
Psychic Strike
Ivy Lane Denizen*
Death's Approach
Sage's Row Denizen
Skyblinder Staff
Dimir Charm
Tower Defense
Hellraiser Goblin
Sacred Foundry
Pack 3:
Cloudfin Raptor
Predator's Rapport
Contaminated Ground
Beckon Apparition
Zhur-Taa Swine
Forced Adaptation
Millennial Gargoyle
Shielded Passage
Act of Treason
Gift of Orzhova
Simic Keyrune
Hellkite Tyrant*
Pack 4:
Shadow Slice
Warmind Infantry
Scatter Arc
Beckon Apparition
Razortip Whip
Furious Resistance
Keymaster Rogue
Death's Approach
Ordruun Veteren
Knight of Obligation*
Gyre Sage
Pack 5:
Devour Flesh
Predator's Rapport
Leyline Phantom
Ruination Wurm
Beckon Apparition
Guildscorn Ward
Furious Resistance
Riot Gear
Sunhome Guildmage*
Dying Wish
Duskmantle Guildmage
High Priest of Penance
Giant Adephage (foil)
Pack 6:
Basilica Screecher
Way of the Thief
Spire Tracer
Syndic of Tithes
Grisly Spectacle
Forced Adaptation
Nav Squad Commandos
Sage's Row Denizen
Razortip Whip
Frenzied Tilling
Ripscale Predator
Incursion Specialist
Crypt Ghast*
Thrull Parasite (foil)
Pack 7:
Scab-Clan Charger
Daring Skyjek
Towering Thunderfist
Hands of Binding*
Skyknight Legionnaire
Paranoid Delusions
Sage's Row Denizen
Razor Whip
Madcap Skills
Death's Approach
Merfolk of the Depths
Debtor's Pulpit
Orzhov Charm
Pack 8:
Daring Skyjek
Frilled Oculus
Martial Glory
Foundry Street Denizen
Zarichi Tiger
Boros Guildgate
Corpse Blockade
Arrows of Justice**
Bane Alley Broker
Pack 9:
Frilled Oculus
Scab-Clan Charger
Daring Skyjek
Towering Thunderfist
Martial Glory
Shamble Shark
Razortip Whip
Clinging Anemones
Furious Resistance
Forced Adaptation
Smog Elemental
Crypt Ghast*

* What I would take first pick if these were draft pack ones.
** Changed my mind to this after reading Skullcrack a little closer

Let's take a look at my first attempt at this experiment.  I built a deck from the first 6 packs.  It ended up being a very Orzhov based deck with a red splash...

First sealed pool - packs 1-6
1 2 3 4 5 6
Shadow Alley Denizen

Thrull Parasite
Basilica Screecher

High Priest of Penance

Syndic of Tithes

Sunhome Guildmage
Kingpin's Pet

Slate Street Ruffian
Crypt Ghast

Knight of Oblivion
Treasury Thrull

Hellkite Tyrant

Beckoning Apparition x3

Furious Resistance x2

Aerial Maneuver Gift of Orzhova Grisly Spectacle Shadow Slice
Non-Basic lands: Sacred Foundry

After I finalize my deck, I will move on to a new pool.  In this case I rolled a die which told me to remove pack 3 and add pack 8.  Here's how that turned out:

Second Sealed Pool - packs 1-2, 4-6, 8
1 2 3 4 5 6
Thrull Parasite

Foundary Street Denizen x2
Syndic of Tithes

Daring Skyjek

Basilica Screecher

High Priest of Penance

Sunhome Guildmage
Slate Street Ruffian

Kingpin's Pet
Knight of Obligation

Zarachi Tiger

Orduun Veteran
Treasury Thrull

Furious Resistance x2

Aerial Maneuver

Martial Glory

Grisly Spectacle Angelic Edict
Non-basic lands: Sacred Foundary

Boros Guildgate
This deck obviously turned out a bit more Boros than Orzhov (which has actually been my prediction for the strongest archetype in GTC since before the pre-release).

One thing I've noticed from this first experiment though is that by switching one or two packs, you essentially just evolve a deck instead of building a new one (unless there is a key piece that is taken away or something).  So what I am going to do from here on out is just roll a die for 6 packs and build from that, instead of just rolling for which packs to swap in and out.

So that is going to be my way of training.  I would love to know your thoughts on it, or on the first two decks I built.  See any key pieces I should have included or scrub cards I should have sidelined?  Please tell me.  I don't have the benefit of playing with these decks like I would normally, so I will greatly appreciate any feedback what-so-ever.

Phew... ok.  This is going to be fun, and the GP even more so.  I can't wait to give this a shot and see how well this training pays off.  Who knows?  Maybe I'll use this training training for another GP...  maybe one in March?

Anyway, that's all for this CGC.  Sorry it took so long.  Hopefully I'll having things out more regularly from now on.

End step.  Your turn.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

[JT] Casual Daze: Text Adventures

Hey, everyone.  To hold you over until I can get this post written, I decided to show you something that happened last night between me and Jas, just to prove that we are actually as idiotic IRL as we are on here.  Before we get started, just know that any italicized text in []'s is a "JT's note".  I'm just too lazy to type it out each time XD.  Since this wraps up so beautifully on it's own, I won't have any closing notes.  So I will see you all again in a few days with a new CGC.  Ok, so here we go...

JT:  you're alive?
Jas: yes
JT: and I didnt need to come get you? damn  [Always have a wingnerd.]
     dont you open tomorrow? lol
Jas: nope I'm at 7:30am
      late shift
JT: wooow. lol. Waterfront after?

Jas: I'm not done till 3
      and I still need to clean!
      and finish cosplay!!
      and do my homework

JT: ... so.... Panera? lol
    you can do your hw there
    I can work on my post while you do XD

Jas: I can't clean or cosplay there now can I? [She says that like we don't sit there and play Pokemon for hours...]

JT: ... well... you can cosplay. lol

Jas: and I need a reliable interest connecting
     its a timed online quiz

JT: ew. I hate those
[...aaaaand it begins.]

Jas: internet connection*
     interest connecting?
     what even
     apparently I need to sleeo
     im done with life

JT: ... wow
    looks like it's done with you too

Jas: apparently
      all if over
      ejfalbhbsfgnkam  [Uh oh... is it possible for someone to relapse into a stroke?]


Jas: stahp


Jas: bbbuuuuuuuuuuuhhhhh [Error.  Error.  Rebooting.]

JT: I'm gonna make a post out of this

Jas: you would
      im waiting
      for this post
      wehere is it [Ta-da!]

JT: this and the text you sent me that you refused to fix the autocorrect

Jas: LOL
      wiat whihv on
      im not even teying anbyomroe
      i give up
     my fingers are sweaty
     i didnt even drink
     i need a chocolate covered strawberu
     excuse me

JT: the one i just texted you [I forwarded her her own text.  Here it is for you all to enjoy: "Nice!!!  Also I'm free thursdua and Fridays afterisbwisn moons I'm too lazy to autocorrect shit Isis"]

Jas: LOL
      im a mess

JT: lol
     yes... yes you are. (and I suddenly have Cobra Starship in my head) [i.e. "Hot Mess".]

Jas: i like them

JT: me too.... and it's better than having that stupid Bruno Mars song stuck in my head

Jas: hows that one go again?
      something about heaven?
      : P
[As I said in my previous post, I now work at Target in their electronics department.  This means I hear the small preview video they play in entertainment on loop about 20 times a day, and that stupid Bruno Mars song (or just the refrain, rather) is constantly stuck in my head!]

JT: yeah.

Jas: well. it is time for [jas] to sleep

JT: lol. good night. let me know if you change your mind...

Jas: i'll let you know
      if i even stay away
      go forbid if i nap again

JT: ...
Jas: im done
      so done
      i cant even

JT: now whenever you type something correctly, I'm going to think it's wrong and be confused because I cant figure out what it was supposed to say.

Jas: hahahahah perfect
      pan is owrking
     with tha
     bloody hell

JT: gnight
Chat Conversation End