Sunday, May 13, 2012

Deadbeat Summer

     Hey all! It's been far too long now since I last wrote, and I mean actually wrote, rather than a bunch of new and fantastic songs for you to try out. But I've been quite busy as of late, and not the interesting and relevant busy. Well, tiny bits here and there, but not worth devoting an entire blog to. No, I've just been trying to finish this semester strong to raise my overall GPA and be better set for my last year at SIU. And so far it's been paying off. Three of five of my final grades have come in and they're all A's, so let's hope that keeps up with the last two. Wait... Now I'm talking about the boring stuff. School's over and that's reason enough to talk about it. Let's move onto what's in store for next three months.

The New Hobby:
     Matt came down in April with a few friends to go hiking and camping in Giant City Park, then continuing their camping and hiking out at few other places. Matt invited me to go out with them, since they were only in town for the day. So, after class, I went out there for the first time, got lost for like an hour trying to find where exactly to go, and met up with them. Evidently they had already gone on a trail or two and had gone free climbing, which has become Matt's new hobby. We checked out a drying waterfall, with only a small stream of water coming down the large rocky steps that layered on top of one another. From there we went on another trail where we got to see a snake and sit on cliff, and bask in the sun. I found the whole experience to be very pleasant.

     I found it so enjoyable that I've started going back by myself and go on hikes through the forrest. I really feel like it's something that I should have been into my entire life. I remember being into nature and hiking when I was really young, but I guess that stopped when I got into videogames. Being back in nature, where it's so quite, is such fantastic place to visit when you to get away from the usual day of sitting around or going to class. It's good to be back in it. It's definitely going to be something I do throughout the summer.

     In the meantime, while I'm here for the next week or two, I'll be spending a large amount of time out there and enjoy the lack of phone service, videogames, internet, and television (even though I don't care to watch tv). I started my first day of summer (which was yesterday), heading out to Giant City and hiking the entire day. Unfortunately I was unable to really continue my hiking because the park was getting crowded with graduation parties and the trails were becoming a little congested, which I am not a fan of. I like to take it slow, explore side paths, and taking in the surroundings for many minutes on end. Luckily the path I was on was a two-hour hike, so at least I got in a fair bit. Plus, I found the perfect walking stick in a dried up riverbed. It's just the right height for my hand and the bark where my hand is hugs the stick, so it's like a hand grip. It was so helpful that I took it back home with me.

It shall be my new trekking companion. Maybe I should give it a name.

A New Face:
     In April, I had a new guest come down. I've been talking with a girl that works at my dad's company, named Stefany. I invited her down for the weekend, and she was totally down for it. We planned a number of things, from going to Giant City to going to see Titanic 3D. She had been wanting to see it and hadn't gotten around to seeing it yet. The weather was supposed to be good but it ended up being overcast and cold, which sucked for Stefany because she was planning for warm weather... We improvised though, and we went to Hobby Lobby and got painting supplies and we painted in my kitchen. Painting is one of her hobbies and talents. She's quite good, while mine are on par with a child's depiction of Halo.

I think it's pretty obvious to determine who's is who's.

     She said she had a great time and we've made plans for the summer to spend time with each other during the summer.

Summer time is Halo time:
     With Halo 4 slowly looming closer, and with news coming out more and more frequently, I felt that this summer, like last summer, would be filled with Halo. Taking center stage to keep the Halo momentum going is my Halo Mega Marathon.

     The summer-long Halo Mega Marathon includes any and all official Halo Canon, and all in chronological order. Certain bits towards the end don't even arrive until the fall and winter, so technically, this runs throughout the rest of the year, but the bulk of it will be my summer and will be leading up to PAX Prime and, hopefully, Halo Fest 2012. Yes, I still have hope that Halo Fest will make a return.

I don't have an exact starting date yet, as I'll be having Dan and Chris staying here with me next week and I may have plans to go fishing with my cousin and frequent hiking trips. So I'm waiting for a few days where I have nothing going on to begin. I also have no intervalled schedule, so it's possible that I become very absorbed in the whole thing that I end it in like... a month. I'll just be trying to spread things far enough apart so that it lasts the whole summer. Here's the lineup:

* = Completed

*1. Halo 3: The Cradle of Life
*2. Halo Legends (Part 1) [The Duel]
*3. Halo: The Fall of Reach (Part 1) [Which ends after the capture of Colonel Watts]
*4. Halo: Contact Harvest
*5. Halo: Evolutions (Part 1) [Pariah]
*6. Halo: The Fall of Reach (Part 2) [Which ends just before the OP: RED FLAG briefing]
*7. Halo: Legends (Part 2) [The Babysitter, Homecoming, The Package, Prototype]
*8. Halo: Genesis
*9. Halo: Ghosts of Onyx (Part 1) [Which ends before the battle of Earth]
*10. Halo: Evolutions (Part 2) [Stomping on the Heels of a Fuss, Midnight in the Heart of Midlothian, Dirt, Headhunters, Blunt Instruments, The Impossible Life and Possible Death of Preston J. Cole]
11. Halo Wars
12. Halo: The Cole Protocol (Boo! Can I skip this one?)
13. Halo: Blood Line
14. Halo: Reach
15. Halo: A Fistful of Arrows
16. Halo: The Fall of Reach (Part 3)
17. Halo: Katherine Halsey's Journal
18. Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary (And maybe "The Flood" in between playing...)
19. Halo Graphic Novel
20. Halo: First Strike
21. Halo 2 (Part 1) [Which ends after leaving New Mombasa]
22. Halo: Helljumper
23. Halo 3: ODST
24. Halo: Ghosts of Onyx (Part 1) [Which ends when Blue Team is en route to Onyx]
25. Halo 2 (Part 2)
26. Halo: Ghosts of Onyx (Part 2)
27. Halo: Uprising
28. Halo: Evolutions (Part 3) [Human Weakness, The Mona Lisa]
29. Halo 3
30. Halo Legends (Part 3) [Origins I & II]
31. Halo: Evolutions (Part 4) [The Return, From the Office of Dr. Arthur Iqbal]
32. Halo: Glasslands
33. Halo: The Thursday War (which comes out October 2nd)
34. Halo: Cryptum
35. Halo: Primordium
36. Halo: Forward Unto Dawn
37. Halo 4
38. Halo 4: Spartan Ops
39. Halo: [Last Forerunner Saga book] (which presumably comes out in early January)

     As you can see, I'm breaking up certain books into sections that have other items in between. I want it all to a relatively strict chronological order, because certain sections in books where the bulk isn't the main story can be pretty long, so I'm just making them smaller stories. An interesting side effect that I'm excited to see are moments that refer to past events that I've read about before or even certain lines in dialogue being referenced much farther down the line from when I'd normally hear it. What I'm excited about is if the moments feel more meaningful and far more intertwined than normal.

     Past that, though, I'll return to working on my very large Halo megabloks diorama that will sit beneath the shelves that house most of my collection. Although, I think I'm not going to do it the way I originally planned, which was carving foam and painting and gluing shit, and just really making it a big project, and an incredibly messy one at that. No, I think I'm going to take advantage of those Halo megabloks battlescapes for this. It's just too simply and easy not to do. Sure, I sacrifice the realistic aspect, as well as the type of environment I wanted, but I could tell after the first night of working on it that this wasn't going to end the way I want it and I've made a mistake, not to mention wasting a lot of time and money on the materials...

     In my last actual blog, I briefly talked about a video I had started working on. Well, since then, I finished working on it. I spent far longer on it than I had anticipated, but it really made a difference, and it shows. I posted it all around the internet, including Halo.Bungie.Org and It was featured on both sites and that helped views count shoot through the roof, or at least for me. Within the first 3 days, it got almost 1800 views, and people seem to really be diggin' it. It may seem a bit egotistical as well as show a real need for attention and devotion, but I went around and looked for positive comments on it, looking for ones that sounded similar to the ones I imagined there would be when I was making it. And find them I did. Normally I don't care for gloating, but when it comes to artistic work of mine, or in as much as I just edited footage to go along with the song, I care very deeply how others view it, especially when it's something that's supposed to be beautiful and awe-striking, rather than the exciting tones of videos I've put together in the past.

I have succeeded.

     I'll admit though, that while I loved that people liked my video, I was really hoping for more actual responses to me from my Halo friends, both in real life, and on twitter, and only a small fraction of both groups did... It just kind of makes me sad because they're the ones that I wanted to see it the most, and whose praise I was hoping to get most of all because that means more to me than a bunch of random people on the internet...

    But it is what it is. The work on this will help me prepare more for the summer, not to mention my planned career. This summer, I, along with some of my best friends will be continuing work on the machinima I came up with over Spring Break. We still need to put together a formal script, go through production, record lines, and then spend a bunch of time editing it, before releasing to the masses. 

     I don't remember what all I've said about this yet, but the story takes place in the Halo universe, and is not a stand-alone story. Well, it is, but this story starts after a specific part in the Halo: Reach campaign. It follows a squad of ODSTs that are hopelessly defending Reach, which is burning to glass. More details as things get moving on this mini-series, which is planned to be in three parts.

     In July, I make my way out to San Diego Comic Con. This will be my fourth year going and just like every year, I'm there for Halo. If you've read my Halo story blog posts, you'll know that SDCC has held a lot of major moments for me and Halo. Apparently this year they'll be showing off the new live-action mini-series 'Halo: Forward Unto Dawn,' which is supposed to lead us into the release of Halo 4. I can't wait to see it and my friends from 343i, as well as a few friends that I've met at past conventions.

     In August, I'll once again be heading to the west coast, but this time to Seattle, my future home, for PAX Prime, and hopefully Halo Fest 2012. Last year was my first time there, due to Halo Fest and I loved it so much that I wanted to make it a yearly thing like SDCC. There, I'd be seeing almost all of my Halo/Twitter friends and we'd all be enjoying Halo together, as well as hanging out with those from 343i. It'll be much different from last year though, because last year, I never even got to see the actual PAX Prime show floor, as I spent my entire time at Halo Fest.

Losing the Weight:
     On June 30th of last year, I got a lap band put in just above my stomach. If you don't know, the lap band goes around the tube that connects to the stomach. When the lap band is inflated, it closes that tube more. The purpose of the whole thing is to lose weight, and lose I have.

     Since I started, I've lost a total of over 90 lbs, and the 100 lb mark is coming up quickly. My goal since this whole thing started was to lose 100 lbs by the one-year mark, and it looks like I'm going to be able to do it with time to spare.

     Throughout the summer I plan on continuing my weight loss by swimming in my pool back home on a regular basis, hiking when and where I am able to, and start practicing more on my footwork in dancing, which should become easier with the more weight I lose.

Feeling Nostalgic:
     Finally, I've been feeling nostalgic lately, particularly about the days when I would collect and play Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG. I definitely don't want to get back into the actual game because it's a ton of money, but I do want to recreate a couple of my favorite decks that I made when I was younger. It's still a bit of money, but it's kind of a one-time fee, that won't continue for years on end. I just want to make the decks and put them in some sort of nice deck case. I was imagining a wooden case with a glass face, and on the inside would be three impressions that would house each deck.

     I am generally one to sell stuff after I realize I won't use that stuff anymore. I always see older people mention how they wish that they had some of their favorite toys from when they were children, kind of like in The Santa Clause. I thought that rather than sell all my stuff away, I would keep certain toys that were particularly special to me, like my old Jurassic Park velociraptor figure, and I would have those memoirs to keep displayed or something.


     So that's what I've got going my way for the next three months. It should be quite the adventure. I'll leave you with a fantastic song that goes absolutely perfect with great weather and being outside. This is "Deadbeat Summer," by Neon Indian. Enjoy!

Until next time...

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