Civil Disobedience

     I spent some time with a friend about a month ago. He and I pulled up The Daily Show interview between Trevor Noah and Tomi Lahren. It took some time for us to make it through the interview because we were pausing consistently. During one early pause I went on a rant about race, and digressed with this:

     “…I have a real question. How do the maligned protest? When people feel as though their voices cannot be heard any other way, how should they express their displeasure to attain recognition and hopefully change? How do the ‘minority’ get the ‘majority’ to listen?”

     And then Trevor Noah asked the same of Ms. Lahren. Not verbatim, but with the same spirit. The answer she gave provided no answer. Just as plainly as the first time Noah asked his question again and again no actionable response was offered. This caused me to have a renewed annoyance. Most simply and broadly, and hopefully without being reductive of the issue, when a child comes to me with a complaint I settle it. I listen to what the child has to say, try to understand how to solve the problem, but I also try to understand the standpoint and outlook of the child. If a child complains of being afraid in a dark room and points to a corner, turn the light on to see what the problem actually is. Many of us have had children in our lives, and I am certain the majority of us have responded in a similar fashion. Why then can we not treat fully grown, sentient humans with the same amount of consideration and respect? If people express fear, they are told it is nothing. When they cannot remain calm we are told their yelling and screaming affords them nothing. So we are left to stew in our own uncertainty. And this is why anger builds.

     Anger is ugly, and drives people to heinous acts. A recent incident in Chicago showcased four black youths torturing a white youth. They espoused hate speech not just against white people, but against President-Elect Donald Trump. Behavior like this does no good. While the perpetrators did not tote any particular cause this will not stop some from hearkening back to this incident. The conversation of sound treatment for all is ongoing. This hate crime adds another land mine to the field of discussion. In no way am I condoning this attack. No matter the circumstances that weighed the scales, the aggressors had choice. And those choices, once made, have consequences. This is anger, poorly directed, and the harm will ripple beyond the five people at the center.

     Constructively, people protest because they find something to be wrong in their lives. When left with no better options, they band together with others who feel the same. This anger can be channeled to bring light to a given issue. But care must be taken lest the people taking a stand, not just movements but the ideas they represent are invalidated.

     A group that is a fulcrum of discussion is the Black Lives Matter Movement. BLM, as is oft used, swelling in the public light as an organization that speaks out against police brutality, namely in the lives of people of color. Their efforts have covered a lot of ground and varied in execution. From marches, to protests regarding trials of law enforcement, even to larger demonstrations that disrupted traffic in some cases. One problem is that there does not seem to be a nucleus, so anyone can take up the banner. This has led to some events being well received, and others being denounced in the wider public eye.

     It is hard work to be angry and scared, to feel cornered and ignored, and to respond with calm. It is all the more harmful then when protests remain peaceful, but you are merely stepped on or over if you are bothered being recognized at all.

     In an example of recent civil disobedience, Colin Kaepernick has earned recognition. A football player for the San Francisco 49ers he remained seated during the playing of the National Anthem. When asked later why he did so, he said the following:

     “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color. To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.

     The main complaint I have heard is that this disrespects what some people hold dear as symbols of this country. Law enforcement domestically and soldiers in foreign theaters have both served the country in some way. I have seen some among my friends support Kaepernick not only in deed, but in spirit. Others, also among my friends, find his and all other such protests as the height of disrespect. The conversation centered on the act itself. Not the words, not the cause of the protests, but the actions.

     “BLM is too loud, angry, and disruptive.”

     There are persistent and entrenched socioeconmic inequalities that heightens the likelihood for such anger. These people feel stuck, and unheard. All that can be done is to raise their voices. But this vocal outcry is too much.

     “Kaepernick should stick to sports. If you want to protest, do it on your own time.”

     The point of a protest is to get people to notice a problem. To get them talking. He managed to facilitate discussion. As I said, the point was missed. Many were annoyed and aggitated. How dare he disrespect the country and the flag. But a grouping and a symbol of it are more worthy of discussion than ensuring no more people die.

     I meant to type this all quickly, but I have taken my time to craft it better. I hope in reading it, you understand the view of one person. I am not yelling or impeding your daily routine. Outside of asking you to read my words, however impassioned, I come as constructively as I can.

     I am angry. I have lived my entire life held under suspicion. One of my earliest memories was an elderly woman shrinking away from me when I entered an elevator. I was four. Watching people cross the street to avoid walking near me, placing themselves aggressively between me and their children. Being someone who has focused much on peace, meditation, and understanding but so often considered a threat. I can excuse single instances, but an entire lifetime causes me pause. “Why am I a threat?”

     I am scared. I have now-funny anecdotes that were originally terrifying. I have been stopped by police while walking, told I “matched a description”, and watched how they jumped when I reached for my wallet. I have been stopped in my car, and had two additional squad cars called as back up. Yes, I had wooden weapons and a week worth of stuff in the back seat. But the inability to communicate that an item of confusion was a yoga mat could have quickly gone south. I don’t walk anywhere anymore, where I was once famed for it. There are places I don’t drive, because every time I happen to I am “out of place”. I am afraid of being stopped. Of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. I am afraid that the attending officer will misjudge me, or the situation, and I will wind up dead. For all my skills, ability, and confidence, I am afraid of my story ending if I am not behind closed doors.

     I am tired. An entire lifetime of being unable to relax has worn on me. I have had to battle to be comfortable with the way that I talk, dress, what I project. I have had to individually tackle every aspects of my projected persona just to walk in the world. I have even had to use my knowledge in singing to scale my voice up because my natural voice scared customers.

     I want to scream. I want to live without worry. Without the children that grow up after me to wonder if they really are a beast or demon. I don’t want them to figure “Well… If the entire world is going to be afraid of me anyhow, I may as well use that.” I don’t want them corrupted by this world as I have been.

     My life is good. I have a roof over my head, food in my stomach, internet and a computer to access it with, and the education to write and make these posts. I have no mental oddities or physical dependencies. I operate fine with ample food and sleep. Even with life being good, even being in America, there are nigh invisible hazards. Or, at least, they aren’t spoken of. I have lived a life full of small hazards and have been worn down. If you think sand does not matter in aggregate, look up what it can do in a desert.

     Just because my life is “good”, does not mean that I am obligated to ignore all the bad around me. Just because things “could be worse” or ARE worse elsewhere, doesn’t mean I have to accept backsliding here.

     America is my country too. I was born and raised here. My ancestors were dragged here from parts unknown. Quite literally, this is the only world me and mine know. Our history is expunged.

     This is my country. And in 2017 I do not feel safe. I see other people who do not feel safe either.

     And that is a problem.

     I return to the question: When and how do we protest so that change occurs, so no one dies?

     The answer to when is Now. The answer to how is Constantly.

     I would call my education of World History “very Euro-centric.” But even in that, there are are truths that have to be accepted. Only in recognition the path we’ve walked can we avoid treading it again.

     The world was full of, and still has, partriarchal societies. As it pertains to the one-day United States laws were made with land owning men being the creators and benefactors of the laws. This did not extend to non-European people, and rarely to never women. The Indiginous Peoples of this continent were shoved aside as more Europeans immigrated to the Americas. As industry grew a booming and equally dehumanizing slave trade began. In the 3/5 Compromise Southern states were allowed to count slaves among their population. This allowed them voting clout and resources without giving rights to those they benefitted from. Even if they escaped from the South, head hunters could venture North to retrieve them legally. Worse, there are instances in which someone who was born free was taken into slavery. (Perhaps because they “matched a description”?) It took a Civil War to begin forcing change. Westward expansion forced the Indigineous Peoples that remained onto reservations. New immigrants came along, and it was always a struggle to integrate them. The Irish first come to mind, but there were many others. Fast forward a bit, and we have the Women’s Sufferage Movement. A bit more, and we see an end to Jim Crow Laws and the Civil Rights Movement for People of Color.

     And none of that is secret history. It is all a part of standard curriculum.

     But is it all history?

     What is right and wrong is often subjective. The Messiah of one is the Heretic of another. With this being so confusing, rules imposed by the masses can shape the framework of some. The laws that made Segregation in all of its forms legal have been gone for only about half a century. This means that the framework of some people were molded by the laws. Some, those who were limited, are happy to be free to do as they wish with without worry. Some, who were unphased, may not understand why things needed to change. In both cases these people usually have resources, clout, and are respected in their communities. Segregation has yet to meet its Second Death, when all those who grew with and supported Segregation are no more. Even without the laws, communities of color do not feel safe. When black people wind up dead in non-violent encounters with police, but those who attack historic churches survive to trial it does nothing to settle our fears. I do not have every iota of information on every instance, and will admit I do not know everything. But feelings are powerful, and there is not enough cold, logical information to temper emotion.

     We have issues of immigration presently. Distrust of refugees of war. People fleeing because war has destroyed their homes and all they know. We do not look at the past and help expedite integration, help people get on their feet or perhaps eliminate war in their homes. Rather, we seem content to leave them in Limbo.

     I feel that we again face a Civil Rights Movement, but this time for the LGBTQ+ community. Forgive, as I do not know the proper and present acronym. Ever since I was young I have noticed the parallels between People of Color and the LGBTQ community. Pastors at pulpits using the Bible to denounce what they did not agree with, rather than just treating their fellow humans with respect and heartfelt kindness. Letting their God speak through their actions. Trying to figure out issues with bathrooms. Many little similarities that are lost in my memory.

     This is our past, and our present. These things exist now. If they continue into tomorrow relies wholly on us.

     It is a shame, but looking back it seems as though humans as a whole, but Americans more directly, have not learned from history. Proof in that we repeat it. There are no silver bullets or magic pills. I know that making things right takes work, and a lot of it. But I do not think it is as difficult as we tend to make it out to be. There is so much in the world that separates us. But we are all people. We need clean air, healthy food, and have similar likes on the whole. I would love to see a world in which we bicker about this celebrity or ponder if a dress is blue or white because that is the most stressful issue in our world.

     I hate saying it, but the real solution to all these ills will probably not happen in my lifetime. People all over have issues that matter to them. But before everything else, can we agree that people dying, being without homes, being without food, and many other such issues are bad and solve those? We have thousands of years of recorded history. We have a greater breadth of technology and capability, but still people suffer. Shared suffering often brings humans together. Together, in that suffering, let’s move past it and create a net so that no one falls again.

     That is a thought I will keep in mind at every moment.

     “An injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.

Meditative Focus: Fear and Courage

I have let fear overtake my life.

I am nervous about openly writing because what if someplace I wind up working for fires me for it? What if a future ambition is cut short for the same reason? What if I become famous for all the wrong reasons and have to abort my dreams?
I am afraid to walk from Point A to Point B out of necessity as I did when I was a teenager. What if I get stopped by a police officer and shot? What if someone careens out of control and I have a lapse of awareness and am maimed?
I stay where my friends and loved ones know I am so that I do not worry them by simply disappearing without connection to parts unknown.
I have fears, both simply silly and maliciously mighty, and they shape my actions. They pervade my thoughts. They touch ever tiny aspect of my life, and I am tired of it. I want to yell and scream. I want to let my anger flow into some fire. If I do not change the world, then I hope to at least reforge myself to deal with it better.
I am tired of feeling helpless like there is nothing I can do to better my circumstance.
I am done with seeing my friends suffer and go without.
I am nearly mortified of what I think the world will become in a generation or two. I know how I adapted and I do not want the children I care for to have to do the same.

I normally speak circles around my own emotions. But in this instance I will try something different.

Continuing with my other writing this month, there is a lot of fear that came about due to our present President-Elect Donald Trump. I do not begrudge people emotions, or thoughts. They are notoriously difficult to control. Additionally, they are part of being human. No matter what is felt, it is important what one does.
I do not agree very basically with Donald Trump at all. He did not mesh well with me. I am afraid of what is to come for my friends who are still “on the fringes” of society and culture. I am afraid of losing ground that was hard fought in the area of Civil Rights most of all. Per my history I am just as likely to be removed from the economic engine as a part of it. I have gotten by with the help and goodwill of my friends and family. And that is where I will put my faith and stock in how the world will look tomorrow.
I applaud those who felt moved to wear safety pins to identify themselves as someone people who felt worried could turn to. Small actions can have dynamic results. “People should not fear their governments. Governments should fear their people,” is a line I remember from the V for Vendetta movie. No government buildings need or should get blown up. But we as people have to stand together. Without political structures, without constructs of race and creed, we are humans. Each one of us. And what is… fundamental and elemental to our beings is not difficult to discern.

Food.
Shelter.
In this world, education.
In my society, a means to autonomy.
A place to enrich the mind, to learn and grow.

I place Fear before Courage because it is my thought that you cannot be Courageous unless you are afraid. If, you are like me and something in this age frightens you, stand with me in bringing overwhelming good to the world wherever you are. I am figuring out what I can do for people. How to use my voice, how to apply my skills, how to adapt to this age that no one around me saw coming.
Also, there is one difficult thing we have to do: Live. I do not merely mean remain alive. Watching television or streaming sites. Going to and from work keeping your head down. I mean taking whatever steps you need to work forward. If we silently relegate ourselves to shadows then all the world building that takes place will be without us. So we can’t run, we can’t hide. We have to hold our ground. It is my hope that the path I walk will not have to be trod again by my descendants.
I am wrote all this up as a banner for myself. And if no one rallies behind me I stand proud. And if others do, then I will help whomever this may be find their own path as I am finding mine.

Encouragement

If you have a page on FB, there is a section that opens up that can give you an at-a-glance update on your pages. One of the features that gets to me is a Day Counter. After about five days of not posting anything it begins to remind you that “You haven’t posted in X# days. {insert number of page likes} people who like {insert page name} haven’t heard from you in awhile.” On the one hand this is a very handy reminder of ‘Oh, maybe I should let folks know I am alive and still making stuff.’ But on the other there is a part of my brain that gets locked down and panicked.

“Oh no. I need to hurry and complete something. But is this good enough? If I haven’t posted in 20 days shouldn’t what I have been working be more complete?” And this can coil endlessly. If I let it win I’d never share anything again.

I have a schedule that I have slipped up on. Ideally I’d post something major at least once a week with casual entries sprinkled between there. My reason/excuse presently is that “life has been busy”. On one hand this is quite true. At the end of last month I was very busy helping shadow write a couple articles. (I know the phrase is “ghost write”, I just have a visceral response to ghost comparisons.) After that I felt a need to challenge my ability in a way.

As a writer I feel it is important to read. I often don’t because, if I am not careful, I fear mimicking the writers’ style which “contaminates” my work. However, I quickly read approximately 800~1000 pages of text because I wanted to finish the series. And I am picking up on the writers’ rhythms, which isn’t a bad thing. Learning never stops and that is a good thing.

All of the above is to get at this point: Don’t stop creating. It is so easy to give up on it when life is knocking at your door. You need a job to keep a roof over your head and food in your gut. You got the desire to unwind from all that is mundane. Perhaps you have pets or children which demand a noticeable slice of your attention. You have to spend time recovering from all of that with pesky sleep. When will you have the time, and the energy barring that, to sit down and make something?

I get that. I honestly do.

But no matter how long it has been since you last engaged in your craft, you have to pick it back up. This isn’t just contained to the fine arts. I have seen many articles about ‘Following your Passion vs. Being Practical’. I am of a mind the world needs all of us. If you LOVE welding, weld for a living. Work on pipes and that sort of thing. If you enjoy some trade or construction, go for it! With much of the workforce with seniority, well, becoming too senior to keep going those gaps will need to be filled. If you LOVE engineering or being a doctor, DO IT. Civil servants are important. If you’re like me and you’d just like to sit someplace cushy, coalescing mad fantasies into cohesive narratives so folks can escape and maybe learn at the same time, you’re needed too. If it wasn’t so, media would not be as much of a juggernaut as it is.

My table will always have a place for you, and my kitchen open to make something for your mind to gnaw on. Writing is my touted skill, and I will continue to share works of which I am proud in the moment and will continue to be in the future. Even though I don’t have a five star kitchen, gleaming tools and high end flatware, I wholly aim to do what I can with the tools I have at hand. And you should too.

My Friends, and you Fine Folks that support me, it is a big wide world. And there is room enough for us all. There has to be. Otherwise we’ll have to make that world. We need practical people to deal with what is at hand. We need those who can see the big picture. And we need dreamers too, for preparing us for what is unseen beyond the horizon.

And for those thinking that we are certainly in the End Times with all that abounds in the world I share this.

“What do you do when you can’t do nothing, but there’s nothing you can do?”
“You do what you can.”

The above is one of my favorite exchanges from the show The Boondocks (Season 2, Episode 6 if my sources are correct) and occurred between Huey and Granddad. I feel like I am locked in a place in which I can’t do much. I have lived a life in which I haven’t seen “my story” reflected in the media I ingest. I see pockets of meaningful conversation, but so often they are quiet voices. Those that are louder drown them out swiftly. I know how far passion can drive people, and I will listen and learn. But once I have learned, or my ears are bloodied from the sound, I’ll step away and enter into discourse with other quiet people. Hopefully their views are different than mine and we teach each other how to live in the others’ world. From there, maybe the rest of the world can do the same.

Yes, I’m a sap. But I want to be in the last generation that needs to fight. I want the world I leave to be different than the one I grew up in and adapt to.

Bah… I’m rambling now. For most of you, you’ll need to get to sleep at the time this posts. But if when you read this you will be awake for a time, get to work. There is much to be done.

Concerning Terrence Crutcher

Something else from Facebook. Terrence Crutcher is a man who was recently killed in Oklahoma. I responded to a friends’ post with the following.


I admit to being a civilian myself before saying anything else. I am also one to wait for all the facts to come in. Even before the present slew of publicized killings I have worried about what could happen “in a few seconds” while I have interactions with officers. I am alive, but I have not always thought I would make it home in the moment. And that underlying fear has all the potential to twist me into a raging zealot. I remain calm, but I can’t begrudge those that cannot.

I have a genuine question. Are firearms supposed to be the go to implement? I can understand that if there is a threat you want stopping power. However, when I do see officers they have a number of what I would consider “force options” strapped to their waists. While they have remained holstered, I have been approached by officers with hands on their weapons more than once. Keep in mind this is wholly my first person perspective, but the phrase “Dead men tell no tales” comes to mind. If lesser means are used and I wound up injured but cognizant enough to bring a grievance that would be an issue for them. Whereas if I were simply dead that is comparatively one sided to deal with. Additionally, while I assume Hollywood exaggerates, are disabling shots impossible?

This might be morbid, but this is a fear that many have. Not just people of color. I might die over a misunderstanding with police, and it doesn’t feel as though justice is balanced.


This said, the question I had was answered. It was confirmed from a source that I lent validity in that discussion that guns are, essentially and in my words, lethal force options. Tasers are ineffectual, also from this person.

Any thoughts? I am liable to write on this later. This is a topic that I have wanted to cover but I did not want to do so glibly, but every time I stop and research the point another person winds up dead. I am convinced that I will never catch up, thus I will start doing what I can.

The Thought That Flies Overhead

“I have to admit that my sister has grown into a remarkably lovely woman. I just saw a picture of her and was very happy Missouri has relaxed its gun laws. I then chastised myself for my possessive and outdated reactionary thought.”

A friend voiced his appreciation for my using the word “reactionary”. And in response to that, I posted this.

It isn’t the thought that settled. So often one group will blame another for something they can’t control. Some may see my initial thought and think I am wanting to control my sister and who she dates. This is not so. But years in American society, and my biological leaning to aggression, jumped to the front of the line. If we do not fault people for thought, but instead for action, I think we would be better off and that much closer to a world we could all live in happily.

Why then chastise myself? Because I still have to catch that thought myself.”

Another friend came along and felt I should post this to be seen on its own.


My Consciousness and Mind are filtered through my Body. With all my available assets Knowledge, in all its forms, are my weapons of choice. There are never enough facts. There can always be greater understanding. Another viewpoint can grant better insight. Cresting the next plateau can grant enlightenment. As I said, there is a chain, at the end of which is Action.

Before condemning someone for what they express as their thoughts, do you understand why they think the way they do? An openness to more understanding teaches you as much as the other person.

No matter the motivation, does an intended action do no harm? This is always worth reflecting upon for even a few fleeting moments so I have found.

After the act, did good truly come of it? If anyone was diminished, can reconciliation be made?

Many view the world as hard and ruthless. Sadly, I can’t deny this. And I can’t blame anyone for staying on guard through it all. It is my own personal hope that people will always try to be better than the person they were before, and that their new expression can lift up many rather than themselves.

I am one man with two hands, and I will raise who I can.

“When you can’t do nothing, do what you can.”

August Planning

The last several months have been enlightening, mostly upon myself and my habits. And in wanting to write for the future I am looking back on my own past.

I can remember myself in high school always having a spiral notebook with a pen, ready to go at a moments’ notice. While at school when I had down time I could be seen writing something. Many thought that it was about them or the people in the vicinity. But mostly it was just my own thinking on a philosophy, or a saying, or some event that I made a tangent out of. This was back in the days of my keeping a Xanga, Livejournal, and MySpace profile. Yes… I have a solid history of cross-posting. And while I often spoke very vaguely about what was going on, as not to out anyone without regard, it was consistent. And I think this is how I will have to order my life if blogging will be paying the bills.

As of yet I do not have what I consider to be a steady voice. I am not a game writer, or one of fiction, and certainly not a social commentator. I am a person of many facets, so I will express all of them and see how many find it worthwhile.

And while the topic of Xanga is above, I have a plan for those old writings.

“Dance!” Opening

I have an idea in mind for a graphic novel, but like many of my projects I never sat down and worked on them. However, in the vein of sharing some of my more near-and-dear works, this oddly versed poem is what I aimed to be the introduction to the story.

The retreat of suns’ light reveals the stars so bright
Much of mankind flees the dark, huddling in their flimsy arks
The night embraces those she knows, calls out to souls from her dark boughs
Those among the Blessed…
Awaken and rise to greet the evening twilight
Herald of a hidden world
So come, as My Sister and Brother
Stay close, as My Lover and Other
Rise all you children, and let us live as one
The Veil of the Daystar gives way to the truths in the night
Not pain, not suffering, not terror nor blight
The stars reveal their twisted truth
Seeming close to us, far flung across the universe
Each one brilliant, burning high for us to see
Is our power any less? Hardly
I join them in their revelry
Stars bright, moons’ light, fires flame, hidden name
I shine as I can, where I am
The world over, far flung though we are, I am joined by many
Those who endure the sun and wait for the night
Now we rise and burn bright
On one planet, huddled in the dark
We dance our dances far apart
Our light reflecting the lights of heaven
Our power growing, us ever knowing that even in the harshest days we have this time
We are not alone
Throughout the night let the rest of existence regard us as we regard the stars
Blatant, beautiful, brilliant
And as the sun rises we walk fully into it entering into a new day
Upon which the power of light has no sway

Designer Notes – Of Final Fantasy X/X-2 HD Remaster

     This was originally going to just touch on the new-to-me elements of the game. However, I found myself getting wrapped back into the world of Spira so this will be lengthier than I plotted for.

     I have been clamoring at the bit to get my hands on these titles. I have not played Final Fantasy X or Final Fantasy X-2 since their original US releases on the Playstation 2. I think I was in fact late enough to that console generation that I bought them at the same time. Many of the PC re-releases of Final Fantasy titles have toted “game boosters”. These are minor boons such as fast forwarding the game to world breaking elements such as infinite money, maximum levels, and the like.

     I’ve been chided and harped on many-a-time for my use and interest in them. “This isn’t how the game was meant to be played.” “Where is the challenge?” I’ve played a lot of RPGs. And even now I still hold to a rule: “I will play a game the first time through as the designers intended. After that, it’s all for fun.” Because of this, I love New Game Plus, or any mode where all your progress from a previous play through is not lost. Square rarely does this with the mainline Final Fantasy titles. Final Fantasy X-2 was, to my knowledge, the first time they did this. Before that, Chrono Trigger (and later Chrono Cross) were the only other titles to do this from that company.

     RPGs, whether Eastern or Western, are about building a character or party in some way. I have built many characters from scratch. But even after one solid play through, or racking up more than a hundred hours in a single game, sometimes I want to know what god mode would be like. And if I want that original experience again? The “New Game” option is there.

     This all said, I am going to open up the game and tinker with the additions and chart my thoughts on them.

     FFX – Starting with Expert Sphere Grid and Arranged music, though I balked about the remastered soundtrack I’ll give it a shot. Plus, I can change it back at any time if it starts to bother me too much. (It probably will by the post game.) I have since switched to the Standard Sphere Grid as there are more spaces to push my parties’ evolution further.

     FFX-2 – Going as is, since there were no other options.

     At the time of this posting I am approximately 90% through the main part of FFX (airship attained, ready to build for Dark Aeons, Penance, and the Monster Arena) and about 50% completed with all the content from FFX-2.

The Game Boosters

Fast Forward

     Functioning the same in both games one can either turn up the going speed by two or by four. Cutscenes, with no exceptions I can remember, are unaltered in their rate of play. As such this will only help with traversal and battles. This limitation is more “prohibitive” in FFX because no option was added, originally or later, to skip scenes.

Super Charge

     FFX – Whenever the characters’ turn comes up, the Overdrive (strong special attacks) meter is set to full, as well as their hit points and magic points. No other statistics have been altered. This is useful, rather than purely game breaking as it pretty much acts as a buffer. You will not need to spend turns healing by and large, as long as your whole party gets their turns in before the enemies’. Attacks you make are still based on your stats, so if you haven’t developed the Sphere Grid at all they will be rather weak. In addition the turn based aspect of the game has a layer of strategy: Different moves have different penalties, which can delay your turn past where it would originally be. Later in the game some moves increase your turn alacrity, giving you the option to do more. Overdrives, while powerful, will typically incur the former penalty. So you have to be careful using them every turn or else the enemy will get a lot of free shots. And if you haven’t developed enough to have the MP pool to use moves they are locked off from you. This booster also works on Aeons, almost negating Yuna’s Grand Summon Overdrive.

     FFX-2 – This game goes back to the Active Time Battle used in later installments of the series (Final Fantasy IV-IX coming to mind). A bar will fill up and when it is full the character can select her action, or cycle to the next lady-in-waiting. Again, no stats are altered (the ATB Gauge is not always full for instance) when Super Charge is turned on. All characters receive a Regeneration to hit points, akin to the spell called Regen. For a certainty hit points are recovered overtime. I also think that hit points are restored every time a party member is attacked, but that could just be the regular rate of the booster. MP is also recovered in this fashion.

     In both of these instances, you still have to play the game in a “proper” way. If you don’t fight you won’t level up per the games’ system and you’ll be left with the barest of measures to complete the game. It is still possible to lose be knocked out. Outside of Instant Kill attacks, if enemies gang up on a single character or just hit hard enough to exceed the numerical value of HP it takes just as it would regularly. As such, even with this turned on, one has to be mindful of not fighting out of their depths.

Enemy Frequency

     Functioning the same in both games, this will adjust the random encounter rate. Rather than seeing enemies on the field, occasionally you’ll be pulled into an arena that mimics the present environment. Defeating the enemies here will give you AP and/or EXP (for battle skill growth. X uses AP exclusively while X-2 uses both), gil (currency), and other items. This rate can be set to None, Normal, or a “Frequent” rate, which occurs every few steps. On the original system people would go through challenges where they would not level at all and may run from most battles. This booster takes a lot of the busy work out of such experiences and let one get to the bigger battles more swiftly. This said, scripted battles will still have to be dealt with.

     There are abilities in both the original games to nullify random encounters. But even with these items, some places would still throw you into combat. Namely in the FFX-2 area “Via Infinito”, encounters would still occur even with a “No Encounters” accessory. The Game Booster does not override this, so such areas have maintained the challenge.

Auto Battle

     Functioning the same in both games, characters will automatically have standard attacks selected for them (if available). Once powerful enough, combining this with Fast Forward and Enemy Frequency can make grinding a breeze.

All Skills

     FFX – Gives immediate access to all skills in the game. They are still limited to MP, so in the early game the best skills can’t be spammed due to a lack of One MP gear or even raw MP pools to be honest. Based on the achievements I “earned” when I activated this, all Overdrives became available as well including all of the Blue Magic techniques used by Kihmari.

     FFX-2 – Following the difference in the game, all dressphere skills became immediately accessible. And once again going off achievements, all Gun Mage Blue Bullets (Blue Magic traditionally) skills became accessible as well even though I do not yet have that dress sphere. This has a mixed blessing. You do not need to stop and grind for AP to learn everything, but you will not get the experience points from defeating those avoided foes. However, if you have played a New Game+ version of X-2 previously, just having more powerful dresspheres makes a world of difference, even at lower levels.

All (Consumable) Items

     In both games, items such as Potions and Elixirs are now a button push away. Outside of their pure use they can be sold, and outside of that these items can be used for upgrades in their respective titles.

     FFX – This takes a LOT of leg work out of post game content. Having made it through to the endgame content, I can say that this provides you with a stock of all the items that you will ever need. This has opened up a few unusual opportunities, which I will cover in the FFX: Addendum below.

     FFX-2 – Something that I had not seen is called the “Creature Creator”, and the items can be used similarly to how they were in FFX to improve monster abilities. This can make early runs of some content viable, simply because there are offensive shortcuts for every creature (Ultima+One MP Cost), and some defensive boons. In this case, if a creature has a Total Limit Break trait, you can push their HP to whatever point you would like. Having a Level 9 creature with 30K+ hit points will at least assure a stalemate in some Fiend Arena cups. That said, you can still just not be tough enough to kill them quickly.

Max Gil

     Functioning the same in both games, ticks the gil (world currency) counter up to the maximum.

     FFX – When combined with All Skills, allows for enemies to be bribed WELL ahead of time. When lending O’aka gil early on even the maximum that can be given to him is a drop in the bucket for you. The Spare Change ability becomes a viable regular attack, and working with Yojimbo is a lot less stressful.

     FFX-2 – Can be used to pay off O’aka’s debt quickly, and for buying mass amounts of accessories necessary for the Creature Creator or a personal collection. Many of the items are not needed at the point in the game I am in a traditional sense, due mainly to the Alchemist dressphere.

     I may edit this entry in the near future as I come across more hands on information. Plus, I do want to actually play the games for a bit more. They hold good memories.

Addendums

FFX

     I did not want the sections above to spill out of control. There is this odd feedback loop that has happened with using the game boosters and I wanted to expound on that a bit. The last time I played Final Fantasy X I had worked all my characters to their highest potential. I had long beaten that games’ super boss (an entity which overwhelms even the stories’ end boss in power) and was just grinding for the sake of it. My plan was to collect spheres that would let me bump up statistics even more just for the sake of it. But with these game boosters…

     …now I can do that all at the push of a button.

     …and since I can have all the items for improvement that I could ever need I don’t need gil either.

     …which was maxed out at the push of another button.

     I hadn’t realized it in an earlier section of the story because I was not at a point where customizing my loadout was necessary. Now that I am there, I can have the fun of where I was with some story left ahead of me. In addition, there are tougher super bosses in this version of the game.

     In this game the growth is not only visual, but interactive. To give you an idea if you are not familiar with this game imagine, if you will, a Chinese Checkers board. Several sections, little nodes, played with marbles and the like. The Sphere Grid of FFX looks a lot like this. Each node is either empty, or will give a character a status boost when a corresponding marble is placed in it. If you want to raise your Hit Points (health, life, etc.) you just need to get next to or onto a node that will boost HP and redeem it as it were.

     In the original version of the game there were items that could be used to fill empty nodes with an attribute of your choosing. And there were more that would let you blanch out most node types to replace it with whatever you wished. These items where hard to come by and made up a bulk of the post-game as I played it.

     With the ability to get these items infinitely I realized a bit later I could begin this process right away. It is possible to, as you go along, recreate the sphere grid as you see fit from the very beginning. I took a middle road approach and, rather than filling everything, simply upgrading existing nodes. Any single bump will give you at most +4 per stat, +40 for MP, and +300 for HP. Rather than overpowering myself obviously, I upgraded as I went along. There are plenty of empty nodes that I left, but any that were lower than the aformentioned 4, 40, or 300 got upgraded to that degree. Even though I am speeding through the story with Enemy Frequency (None), my characters are still balanced enough to play out their roles. Except Kimahri. He’s actually further along Rikku’s path than she is.

     I am finding it nice to be able to just play the game and skip the tedious hours of item gathering so I can focus more on getting to the content and trying to conquer it.

FFX-2

Creature Creator

     While I originally meant for this to be a short document about the game boosters, I put off posting it to make sure I wasn’t missing something pertainent. I got to what I call the “Post Game Point” in Final Fantasy X, which is when travel by airship becomes possible. I find it to be unique among games because, rather than needing to beat the final story boss first you can do all the extra stuff before then. To me it feels more realistic from a story setting. Sin, the millenial old force of nature you fight against, would instill enough fear and respect to prepare in every possible way. This said, outside of some super bosses, FFX didn’t offer much in the way of new-to-me content.

     Playing through Final Fantasy X-2 I completed the bulk of the first of five chapters in the game. Before venturing on to the second I chose to see what I could do with differences to the game. The Creature Creator is an odd little segment. Akin to the Monster Arena from FFX, you can capture monsters. But rather than fighting them, they fight for and with you as party members. Final Fantasy XI has a job class called “Beastmaster” and Final Fantasy XIII-2 had a third party member system of monsters that would fight with you, so I am not wholly unfamiliar with the concept in this series.

     But the Creature Creator has seized me. One thing I appreciated in Final Fantasy X was an explanation for the monsters that would attack you, and that you would kill pretty much without question. Not only did it tie into one of the games’ themes, but it was explained that all the monsters in the world were souls of people that had died. The “fiends” were often envious of the living and attacked them. One of the ways for fiends to be negated was for a Sending to be performed in a relatively close proximety to the deceased. This would guide their spirits to the Farplane, FFX’s territory of afterlife.

     What this content adds, for me, is a reflection on the nature of death. The Nature of Death is an important question to answer in whatever world I am in. In stories with magic or where death is not a barrier I like to know its meaning. In a realtistic story, death removes characters from an active role. But when you can talk to the dead and, potentially, cross back into the living world what weight does dying actually have? In this additional content it answers what it means to become a fiend. As you get new fiends and level them up, most of them have stories attatched. These have been wide ranging in their scope detailing laments and aggressions left over from their life. A father concerned about his children, a lover who still wished to meet her match at their appointed place, or a member of a mansion lost to fire who remembers the perfume of the killer. Rather than being purely silly or arbitrarty tales (there are a few), these are the reasons why the residents of Spira hold onto the world. It will show to me, in nearly 185 individual ways, what threads bind people to the world. Or, in that last example, why flowers and “inanimate” objects would hold on.

     A small aside, there is a Japanese belief that any item which remains cherished and relatively intact for 100 years will have the opportunity to gain a soul of its own. This is part of the reason why you may see angry spirits possessing umbrellas. Due to this, unusual objects becoming fiends is acceptable as I understand the culture that made the story. (I am going to attribute this knowledge to Gaijin Goomba as I am fairly certain I gained this information recently.) This is what makes a story of a former rose in a garden as a fiend interesting. It is likely not a story that would have come from America as our mythos rarely includes such elements.

     In so many RPGs my characters have doled out an unfathomable level of death upon the denizens of the world. In this game the bulk of the world is in fact out to get you. But this content returns an element of humanity, and shines further light on the spiral of Spira. Rather than all the fiends being wild and crazed, some have seemed to hang onto pieces of their humanity. Not all the fiends out there are bloodthirsty. Some just died badly. Others had more they wished to do when they passed of old age or illness. In rare cases, so embrace their new forms but it doesn’t make them inherently evil.

     This feels as though it is a whole new game to help enrich this world. I’ll have to look up the credits for it, but I encourage anyone who picks up X-2 and has the time to invest in some of the Creature Creator. Aside from being able to make really unique party line ups, what it adds to the world is worth thinking on.

Virtue and Vice

Thank you is the first thing I want to say to everyone. Support has come in many forms, and I appreciate them all. Since I have had a full week between now and my last big push I have ample perspective, but still retain fire. While I am not going to stop putting my works in front of everyone, I do aim to be less pushy about getting money for it. I believe in what I am doing. I figure, if you feel the same, asking will be enough and I don’t have to twist arms to get there.
I have had a few people who have shared my Patreon page in their own News Feeds and that is always supportive. Facebook is my core network, so any expansion beyond that is welcome. Plus I know that I am not the most compelling as far as algorithms go so I could use all the help I can get. Outside of Patreon, here are a few other sites that I chart metrics on, and would only cost some time for you to support.

1. WordPress (zerohourseraphim)– Outside of just visiting the site and reading, feel free to hop on Google and search for my site. No matter how you get there, give me feedback. I am watching, and the more information I have the better I can focus what people want.

2. Youtube/Google+ (zerohourseraphim) – This site is new to me from a creator standpoint, and more will be added as my understanding grows. While I will watch carefully, I would like help in policing the site. I know I will be opening myself up to the comment community of the internet. I value discussion, but I do not suffer internet trolls at all.

3. LinkedIn – For those that are working on this site genuinely, feel free to add me on there. Little wrong with expanded networks.

4. zerohourseraphim (FB) – A page I generated to gain more visibility on FB. If I have not already said so elsewhere, I’ll soon be routing my cross-posting through this page so it will be THE way to keep an out on the pipeline if you aren’t following me somewhere else.

5. Unorthodox (FB) – While the “company” is just me and has little use now, throwing a like there will let me hit a few markers to make it more detailed.

6. Twitter (0hourseraphim) – Another site I rarely use, but it is also there.

     You can count all of the above as “good news”. As I’ve said, the past week has given me much needed perspective. Now I am back to hawking my words, since they are the wares I’ve got. “If I could donate, I would” has been a phrase I have heard frequently. If you’ve gone through all the ways above and are still willing and able to donate to me, that’s wonderful! In what I am doing is looking to the power of many. Fifty people donating a dollar is of greater import to me than no one donating at all because they can’t hit some reward tier that I’ve set. Do remember, if you’ve read the “My Patreon” article, that “$1=1000 Youtube views”. If I had a way to get one person to pay on my bills I would play to that. Instead I am asking everyone to help me turn my hobby into a trade. If you’re a public media fan, get ready for a bit of deja vu.
What’s your vice? We all have them. Little things that we have in our daily lives to cope. Think of the support that I am asking for in these terms and it may help you come to grips about how to help me.
Do you like candy? Back in my day (written unironically) a bag or a bar that would sate a child would be worth fifty cents. These days it may be more like seventy-five cents. How many times a month do you feed this indulgence? Never? Once a month on a troublesome day? Twice as a treat for sticking to your diet? Even at the price of my memory, two rounds of counter candy would be a noticeable boon for me. A dollar. Seems silly? It all adds up, I assure you.
In the case of vices, I am no different than anyone reading this. I call myself a gamer and it is what has fueled my writing. My vice? When I can I drop about fifteen dollars a month on an MMO subscription. Roughly averages to fifty cents a day. Perhaps a lot of candy bars, but in my mind this is a “small price”. I pay that just so that I can sit down and pick up a game when I have nothing else to do. I will spend less time here as I write more, but I still play to the vice.
“You’re childish,” I imagine some quip. “Sweets and games.” Very well. Are you someone who enjoys a bit of wine? Or perhaps fine scotch, aged for a few years? Sure, the prices for these can vary wildly, but the next tier that I have is twenty dollars. Speaking to this, how often do you need a new bottle? Do you drink out of particular misery? Out of heightened joy? Just because? If you are like the people I know, it is all of these. What you would pay for a solid spirit is a boon that would bolster my spirit.
Maybe your vice is more less indulgent and more practical. Perhaps you just like a solid meal, or enjoy taking out a “special someone”. My twenty-five to thirty-five range can be compared to this. Pretty much any sit down restaurant can reach this bill easily, and hopefully you are tipping your servers respectably.
Anything past this, even once a month, is major for me. The only thing I might spend fifty dollars or more on a month would be a new game or an entire novel collection. I can’t even think of anything healthy that would be in this range, and most of those aren’t even legal. People do indulge, I admit to that. Outside of all the potential legal costs that would come up should one get pulled in, this amount would make a major difference for me. I managed to end last month with one Patron, and they gave me no upper limit. As much as I can write I’ll get in return. And while this outcome is wild, more Patrons would make it better.
I look forward to any additional support as I proceed forward.