Sunday, December 25, 2011

Passion 2012 Pre-Primer

On this Christmas day, I ignore Christmas completely. I am gearing up for something in eight day's time. Passion 2012 is a large conference that attracts over fifteen thousand 18-24 year-olds to the Georgia Dome for four days. Every year it gets better, and this'll be my first year being exposed to such an event. I will have a camcorder with me, and will use it to take video logs multiple times every day at the event.

So, what do I expect from this event? Well, Chris Tomlin will be debuting two new songs at the event, “White Flag” and “Lay Me Down”. I have heard these two songs live at Passion City Church, and they are very engaging and amazing tunes.
Passion 2012 will be the David Crowder* Band's last performance before they break up. The band's 11-year running has been nothing but joy for millions, and I am proud to say that I was at their last performance.
Louie Giglio will enrapture the audience every day with his stories and sermons. Though the sermon may be shallow, and a touch corny, I do not grudge him for it, for he shows everything in a different light, one that is sure to keep the people wanting more.
The crowds will be insane. Fifteen-thousand college-age people in one dome. The seating goes out onto the field. It'll be an experience I won't forget.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Gaming (Draft)

So, today I will do a post I should have done a while ago. Before I dive into the topic, let me first give my regrets in about two weeks, as the topic of this blog will quickly change to Passion 2012, as I have an obligation to do something so that we can be satisfied I am getting an amount of school time equivalent to two weeks. I'll delve into that in the next post.
Today, I speak of a “hobby” that has taken at least 187 days of time from my life. It has been controversialized due to the overdosing of such activities, and has been directly linked to several disabilities. I speak of gaming.
First, a quick recap of my gaming history, which closely mimics my real life. First was Kal Online, which was as broken a game as it could be. Basically, the publishers decided to release the Korean version in America, forgetting to translate anything. The Americans who got the game, sadly, were shoddy translators. I played this game until even I, with my closed world and innocent eyes, became disillusioned to the worthlessness of it all. Half the game was a box icon.
I moved onto Hero Online, a game I got hopelessly addicted to right about the same time my parents realized I was addicted to video games. Many nights were spent up, hoping nobody else was awake.
After my hard drive crashed, and forgot what the game was called (yes, I really forgot), I went onto Trickster and Maplestory. Trickster (made by Ntreev, or GE Interactive) was a fun little game, though the developers changed several beginner areas quite frequently. Every time I come back to that game, I find myself in a place where everything is overpowered, and sondering how come, since those same entities were beginner monsters a year ago. But I digress; I still consider is a very high quality game, and recommend it to anyone. The graphic and bloom lighting in this game is fantastic.
Another game by ntreev, Grand Chase is an incredibly fun dungeon brawler. You pick one of (I think 13) different characters, each of which starts with a quest line designed to level you up fast. I have yet to see an uninspired dungeon in this game, and playing through them is fun and shaves an hour fast.
Maplestory, though, I consider terrible. It might have been what I played with, or maybe I was doing something wrong, but I went everywhere I could in that game, and was forced to level up by just going around the countryside murdering things. This was an aggravating game, and I left by level 25 (out of 500, I think).
Let's see, where did I go from there... I delved into Guild Wars, and the only thing keeping me from obsessively playing that game is the sheer fact that I can't find the physical disks to install it again. A great game by a great developer, and I can't wait for Guild Wars 2...
After a while, I saw an advertisement for Runes of Magic. It was said to play up to World of Warcraft, as a “free WoW”. Now, as a person who's seen that phrase thrown around quite a lot, I found myself skeptical as I downloaded the game. And I got so unthinkably attracted and addicted to that game. On the one character I have played on that game, I have logged 3, 597 hours of total gameplay. That's 150 days. Almost half a year in three year's time. Sadly, the game didn't do much to warrant my affection. If you look at the business behind it, Frogster America died after three years of uptime, and the European counterpart has assumed control of the American servers. FA seems to have done the worst possible job it could. Now, knowing people inside the company, I know they did what they could. But the game's history is a litany of across-the-board nerfing, mistakes, deleting things on accident, crashing, more crashing, downtime, etc. It is a really terrible game, and I want a refund on my days missed.
Onto greener pastures. I have rediscovered Kongregate, an online game publisher, and have found glee in the game Gemcraft. Also, Nexon made a quite enjoyable game called Vindictus, though I find the game quite unfairly balanced.
So, why do I keep playing Runes of Magic? Well, at the moment, I don't, because all the nerfing has finally caught up to my class (in my eyes, when you nerf one healing class and leave another one alone, and that one you leave alone is already quite annoyingly overpowered, I’ve have enough), but when I did, I only did so because of one word: social interaction. I know most of you are now crying over me, but I have an explanation. I don't mean I find true, fulfilling friendship online, I mean that I simply find that computer games provide a promise of interaction—all I need do is say something and I'll get a response. The game's a giant chat program. Real life provides a suggestion of interaction, though, whereas the interaction online gets only so far (you can't hug, or punch someone online)m the interaction offline can go anywhere. This means, as consistently in my life, the interaction when I present myself to an offline event, I commonly find myself at odds with the real world. Whereas I can sit and think out a response in typing, I cannot in real time. I find myself almost lost.
Though, worry not, I am fast overcoming this. Small talk still evades my mastery, though, which leads to hellish misunderstandings. Oh well. At least the usual physical debilitating effects of gaming aren't seeming to affect me. I thank a metabolism equivalent a bird for that. 

Monday, December 12, 2011

Exam Week

Exams. A joyful event where the students of the school of 400 fit neatly into their separate rooms, and take an hour-and-a-half test. The teachers are skipping down the halls, happy and jubilant to answer the student's insightful question in a way that would satisfy the student, yet bring them no closer to understanding the problem. The proctors roll out the mats, as these days are known by all to be “paid rest days”, as there would be no cheating, for it IS a Christian School. The students themselves are calm and collected, as they have spent every moment from when the final exam ended last year til their head hit the pillow the night before the exam today. These attentive children are the most pure, innocent souls God has ever placed on the earth, because He did. They all have their two #2 pencils (and two blue ink pens, just in case), two extra sets of batteries for their calculators, and several extra sheets of loose leaf paper.
Ah, yes, I can feel the calmness and the joy in the air. I wish Exam-mas came every year!
Yes, yes, you may now bludgeon your monitor after reading this.  

Thursday, December 8, 2011

An Observation on Hatred

Today, I delve into the strange methods of my mind again, though simply with an observation of a happening with a classmate in the lunchroom.
As I sit down at the lunch table, one of my good friends turns and asks [censored], “Would you rather have JHBlancs or [redacted] sitting at the table next to you?”
Pause, and rewind a bit. I need to provide some background. [redacted] and [censored] used to be very good friends, as far as anyone could know. During the summer, though, they allegedly engaged in a fight over some man, and have since enjoyed a peaceful ignorance of each other. This is complicated by the fact that they both have practically the same friends.
With this in mind, let's hit the play button on the flashback. [censored] thinks for a second, and responds: “Actually, I’d rather have JHBlancs sit next to me. Congratulations J— wait, wait, you're actually HIGHER on the list than someone else? Wow, good job!”
If you know me closely, you'd understand when I say that I cannot tell you what I said next. Rest assured, I was incensed by this. I even left angry, seconds later.
I can honestly say that those words I said, for what is maybe one of the four or five times in my life, were simply made to hurt. I walked away amazed at my action, whether or not it was earned by her words. I don't understand the use of them. If I was trying to achieve some goal, I’d be justified, at any rate. But the words were simply hatred for the sake of hurting.
The reason I do not engage in such speech is that it never leads to peace and kindness. A bitter thing always leads to another bitter thing, and if I go any further in explanation, I risk using cliches. Just know that my further explanation involves the golden rule, something churchy about Jesus, and kittens.
Another thing I cannot stand is when someone puts me above someone else. If it is an award, or something I put my time into, I will accept it with glee, for I take it in the hope that I earned it more than the other people who did not get it. What is worse is when a [censored] puts a [redacted] lower than me as a slight. This is not to say I am offended by being used to hurt someone else, Though I hate how this harms the other person. I am quite content with my station in life as the less popular person, and when someone puts somebody lower than I with their words, I hate it. Not only does this make said [censored] feel like the master of two souls, but it places [redacted] in a location they are not used to. Note that [redacted] was not present at this time.

[censored], though, seems to get her high from doing just that. In anyone in my high school life, I hadn't met someone so grounded in hatred. For most everyone, I would refrain from giving the word “arrogant” to their personality, though I believe she already has it stapled to her, so the point of calling it her own. If saying this puts me on the spot for being arrogant myself, so be it.
Now, as to why she doesn't enjoy my presence, That is mostly my fault, as I usually say things before I have thought them through. True, if I were to speak this post to a crowd impromptu, I would not sound nearly as intelligent. Unfortunately, I have had many, many opportunities to exemplify this to my class.
[censored] may be considered evil to me, though this is not to say I do not see greatness in her. The reasoning behind it escapes me, but she has definitely a great future ahead of her. If you know who [censored] is, please help me understand her. And, not intending to sound weak, I could use some help to get her to stop, for she has done this far too long, and I grow tired of her.

On a lighter note, I'm going to a rocket launch on Saturday, here's the link:

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