Back in the Day – Shenmue

Do you know where sailors hang out?

I have to admit that I dramatically flutter from love to hate with this game. I ran out and bought it when it was released because it was the prettiest game on the Dreamcast at the time. Sometimes I think back to the hours I spent trying to beat it and wonder if I was just bored or hated myself.

Shenmue wasn’t like all the titles I usually played. Up until that point, I was big on games that had to be approached with at least one other person. Even when I had played single player games it was a play until you get stuck or died, then pass the controller deal. Shenmue was just me vs the world and I was determined to complete my mission of vengeance.

Shenmue existed, at least for me, in the time before those big fat strategy guides and folks on the internet with maps and video aids. When I wandered the streets in the town, I was really just wandering.

It took me eons to find those damned sailors.

To finish the game I think I had to talk to and follow every NPC on the disc. I continue my belief harboring feelings of self loathing when I think back to the “ninja training” provided in the game which consisted of what felt like one punch and one kick until the end. That wouldn’t have been so bad if the final battle in the title didn’t have the player fighting 70 dudes at once.

QTE’s are evil.

This was the first game that I could remember ripping me from otherwise normal gameplay to tell me exactly what button to push by taking over the screen or making me replay the entire sequence over. Sure, I’d died many a time on other games for essentially not jumping at the right time, but it’s much worse when it glaringly flashes a sequence of what feels like random button presses in the middle of the screen to do stuff that you already had a button for. If I need to duck and I have a duck button, having me press something else just to screw with me is dirty.

For all the real nerds, this game was filled with what were technical marvels like varying weather and the setting was rich with the history of the region. The world was so detailed that you could get lost for hours searching cabinets and drawers before even observing all the different NPCs going about their lives. You even had time to lose yourself in that horrible, but well done, job at the waterfront. There is even a ragingly awkward love interest thrown in the mix to top it all off.

This was continued in the second game to a lesser extent in order to make the playable area more expansive. If only more folks had checked the game out, there would have been more titles. The money they had to throw at the series to make it so nice was pretty much lost at launch and Ryo will likely never get his revenge.



I was reading something the other day where some folks with atrocious reading comprehension were staunchly sticking to their idea that the characters in the book they were reading were white. They were worse than those tacky dimwits on Twitter dogging The Hunger Games cast.

I’m as cool as I’m ever going to get with the majority of people defaulting to white when they read vague descriptions of characters in books. The less described the person is, it does make it a bit easier for the reader to relate to. I must be a bit off because when I read works with “flexible” protagonists, the narrative fills in the blanks and they tend to all look different in my head. Reading something over at a different age has yielded different results at times.

But when I write, the person in my head is non-white a vast majority of the time. Even the comic, in its deceptively lazy black and white color scheme, is pretty colorful.

It’s odd to me to imagine nothing but people that look like me.

That’s also kind of creepy.

The Hidden

The greatest enemy of a writer probably isn’t a lack of imagination. Some of the least effective wordsmiths have grand ideas but not so eloquent execution. The biggest demon that resides in all writers is that we can see the story but we are burdened with bringing as much of it to life as possible.

No writer can ever put forth the entirety of the world they envision. In some ways, it is kind of sad that readers never get to experience the full depths of the narratives they know and love. True, the observer has the advantage of injecting their own imagery into the tale. This option to fill in the blanks sounds like it would be a godsend to the writer, but it leaves us unsure of where to reign it in.

There are some who don’t even bother to develop or describe the protagonist anymore, leaving it to the reader to fill the void with themselves. Do we dismiss this as lazy writing? Is it genius to involve the reader in the crafting of the story with such a personal touch?

We are left to gauge the unspoken, the hidden, and the implied with every stroke and key press. How much do we give? Too much and we are dinged for being too wordy, too little and we are hacks who deserve horrible demises no matter how many people enjoy our work.

Let’s all be hacks together…

Hack and Sputter

I’m not a Writer.

I’ve never claimed to be a Writer and don’t like lying to people. Writers introduce people to worlds and ideas where I am limited to glimpses of scenes that don’t ever meet.

I’m more of a Jotter.

That kind of sounds dirty when you say it. It’s almost as if I am skanking up the real writer pool by even bothering to muddle up paper with tiny ideas that never go anywhere. I’m petrified and confused whenever anyone reads anything that ekes its way out of my mind.

After bouts of insecurity and self loathing, I read something written by someone who is acclaimed for reasons that seem like they can only be due to some form of devil worship in their favor. What passes for great literature just makes me want to curl up in a ball and cry sometimes.

So I decide to just keep jotting down random things until one day I can cut and paste together a decent work. In thinking everything I put down is crap, I guess that I am indirectly saying that it would fit right in with the works of some really rich folks who wouldn’t know character development if it shoved its hand up their backside.

I guess I’m a Jotter because I care too much.

I don’t want to just churn something out to make a buck. I want to weave an intriguing tale. I want the reader to see what the characters see. I want the audience to ride the emotional roller coaster with them, just hopefully not so upset that I get death threats when a character is offed or anything. The evil editor lives in this space.

It isn’t that the words aren’t good enough for me. I’ve seen the story already. Producing the pages that reflect the images of the narrative happens in spurts due to me trying to capture each moment perfectly for the reader.

I’m a Jotter working the snowball effect.

Cat Dance

The least efficient writing process ever:

Sit at desk and open new document.

Pop knuckles.

Start writing.

Wonder if person replied to email from yesterday, so check email. Then check other emails. Inbox zero all around.

Stomach rumbles. Take break to eat and drink something.

Turn TV on while eating. Watch 3 episodes of random crap.

Sit back down. Hack out a little bit.

Let mind wander after a paragraph closes, forget what you were doing for a bit.



Eat again.


Remember the document and crank out a bit more.

Think it isn’t quite right. Reread and reread.

Elect to fix it tomorrow afternoon. Save draft.

Put it off until completely forgotten.


Milla RE:R

Elevator Ride

There are quite a few angry Resident Evil: Retribution reviews in the wild. I find the disappointed reviews out there about as hilarious as the movie itself. The sad part is that neither the reviewers or the folks that got together to make the movie intended to make either as funny as they were.

When Boris Kodjoe is doing the best acting in a movie, you put the stars back in the box and go on about your day.

Reviewing an RE movie like it is supposed to be as serious as a standard film is like trying to add the text that cats type when they walk across the keyboard into the dictionary. It is just not right, no matter how you try to justify it. I watched a 95 minute stroll to an elevator twice (IMAX 3D and RealD 3D) and I was perfectly ok with it.

The RE movies are about Milla Jovovich killing zombies in a snug outfit for around 90 minutes. That’s it. Attempting to make out a decent plot or even caring about continuity is just lying to yourself and everyone else. These movies are so entrenched in a mythos solely based on her looking good splattering zombie brains that any other interpretation is pretty much equivalent to self-flagellation.

Let it go.

The only people in the theatre for the fifth installment of this series were either diehard fans of Milla, or respectable movie critics who had nothing better to watch on its opening weekend. I feel sorry for the critics, because this wasn’t their movie.

Fan service.

Back in the 90s, I played the first RE game for about 15 minutes before I became frustrated with the game mechanics and returned it to the store. Nevertheless I knew that the characters on the strike team were more ham fisted fan service than the previous installment in the series. I didn’t even know most of the game character’s names until the movie felt the need to namecheck people that would normally just be zombie fodder. From Ada Wong rocking her more fashionable red dress to Barry Burton’s beard there was a big fat platter of “We put that in, you are welcome.” Hell, the movie was just a series of levels and the acting was on par with the polygon models in the first few games.

Not just catering to the masses who played the game, there were so many action movie bits that were borrowed that I wanted to tear through my movie collection when I got back home. This movie borrowed so heavily from other action flicks that I probably didn’t even catch them all, and I have watched a shitload of movies.

Anderson: I also liked Dawn/Day of the Dead, Alien(s), Fifth Element, Underworld, Sucker Punch, Inception, Blade Runner, -insert asian film here-, etc…

Pretty filler.

I’ve said before I’d be down with watching Milla do anything on screen, apparently I really meant it.


People are constantly terrified of failing. The eternal shame of doing something and not succeeding scares them so much that they run away from any and all opportunities.

I used to be that way. Doing what everyone told me I was supposed to do and suffering because nothing was worth the risk. I thought I was fine until I hit my breaking point and just decided that the shame was better than walking around feeling empty all the time.

I don’t have some fantastic story where my refusal to fear failure made me filthy rich or loved by millions. I’m just as broke as I was before, but I don’t feel like crap about it.

Hell, I pretty much fail at something everyday.

When I’m done with this post, I’m going to pick something new to learn at random and it would probably be hilarious to watch me muck it up.  If I don’t fail miserably, then I have something new to brag about.

Either way fun times.


Learning Curve

How Amber learns something:

1) Stumbles into the middle of it confused.

2)Changes things around randomly to see if that does anything.

3)Checks phone/mail/watches some videos.

4) Repeats step 2&3 with increasing amount of profanity.

5) Gives up and does something else for a bit.

6) Adds sugar or alcohol and more profanity.


Ace Q & A

Do you define asexual as a lack of sexual desire? A lack of interest in following through with desire? A hybrid? Something else entirely?

For some it may be different, but for me it is a lack of sexual attraction to others. Doesn’t tend to cross my mind without serious prompting from others and even then I just wonder why I am not on the same page. I have feelings for people, which tends to be frustrating for everyone involved because I don’t desire to get intimate with their bits. Even when I dream of becoming close to someone it doesn’t tend go there.

I can see the aesthetic beauty in people and I do appreciate it, but even if I try to will it, the urge isn’t there.

What is your emotional orientation?

I am very much homoromantic. Women are awesome, awesome creatures. I pretty much knew from jump that hetero- anything was off the books.

I thought maybe I fancied both men and women for a bit since I wasn’t drawn to one sexually over the other, but that didn’t really sit right either. After that I just knew that I was drawn to women emotionally and would just let other people call it whatever the hell they wanted to.

I’m curious how much you think the abusive past factors into your asexuality. I get the impression you would be so anyway. still wonder if you think it changed things, even if by degrees, based on something you said before

This question is one that I asked myself countless times. It even fueled my debate over whether I was truly emotionally attracted to women.

Even though I was abused at a young age – enough that details would require a separate entry when I get around to it – I have never harbored a disgust for sex. Unlike many victims my hate was directed toward the bastards that hurt me. The trauma was a large factor in how I interacted with people for years, but I never faulted sex itself.

I am not disgusted by sex, though I do think it’s funny that it is so integral to the lives of others sometimes. The times when I have been in relationships with people, I have participated in sexual acts for the other person’s sake. I have even obliged in circumstances where there was geographical distance.

I made it a point to work through the trust issues that the abuse caused and get to a place where those emotions no longer consumed me before I even entertained the idea that I was just indifferent to sex.

Even in discussions with sexual folks, I have heard them describe things that normal kids apparently do when younger than I was at that time in terms of body/sexual exploration and I don’t remember doing any of that or even coming up with the idea to.

It isn’t an aversion, or disgust, or fear, or hatred; I’m just not thinking about sex.

From the Asexy Universe

Usually when you look up Ace terms everything points to AVEN. Here is a list of some other resources by type:



Steam Groups for Ace Gamers:


Personals Sites: