Sunday, 10 January 2016

BLOG (PERSONAL) -- Perspectives/Memories in 2015, Top Whatevers, Top Exposures, and New Year's Resolutions

Happy Late New Year! Here is the long blog I do every year -- taking a look back at the previous year. Even though it takes quite a while for me to do it, it helps keep me organized for the new year. I also know I'll enjoy reading all the memories and whatnot when I re-read this years from now.

(REVIEW) New Year's Resolutions for 2015
- Save money -- DONE (I hit my target amount halfway through the year)

Spend at least 100 hours on learning Python -- NOPE (I didn't really spend any time learning... I spent time reviewing what I already knew years ago... which wasn't much)

Spend at least 100 hours on learning Japanese -- NOPE (I... didn't spend any hours on through the year >_<)

Create a text-based game -- HALF (I'm going to count this as half-finished, as I finished coding it 30 minutes after the New Year.) 

Create at least 1 story (short story, play, whatever) -- DONE (I'm counting my story in the text-based game as a story!)

Create at least 1 song with the Hatsune Miku English program -- NOPE (I didn't even open the program this year ;_;)

Watch at least 20 (or ALL) anime series I haven't watched that are in my collection -- DONE (I did the former. Waiting in the Summer | Momo: God Girl of Death | Kokoro Connect TV series | Kokoro Connect OVA | The Book of Bantorra | Colorful: The Motion Picture | Flowers of Evil | Tales of Phantasia | Say "I love you" | Time of EVE: The Movie | Mawaru Penguindrum | Canaan | Children Who Chase Lost Voices | Heaven's Memo Pad | Summer Wars | New Kimagure Orange Road: Summer's Beginning | Moribito - Guardian of the Spirit | Persona 3 The Movie -#1 Spring of Birth- | Shakugan no Shana Season 1 | Gunslinger Girl -Il Teatrino- TV series || + 1 more series)

Read at least 5 (or ALL) books (not manga) I haven't read that are in my collection -- DONE (I did the former. Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead | Frost Bite by Richelle Mead | Shadow Promise by Richelle Mead | Blood Promise by Richelle Mead | Spirit Bound by Richelle Mead || + 2 more books)

- Listen to at least 10 (or ALL) music CDs I haven't listened to that are in my collection -- DONE (I did the former. Samurai Western OST | Samurai Champloo: Music Record Katana OST | Samurai Champloo: Vol. 2 | Octave Theory from Earthbound Papas (Nobuo Uematsu) | Healing Series - Beginnings | Disney Karaoke (Frozen) | Mushi-shi: The Next Chapter OST | Jam Project: Maximizer -Decade of Evolution- | GLAY: Music Life | Ever 17 - Single Collection Action 1)

Expose myself to at least 20 games that I physically own -- DONE (Disney Magical World | Dynasty Warriors 8: Empires | RPG Maker 3 | Phantasy Star Universe | Eternal Eyes | Tail Concerto | Tecmo's Deception: Invitation to Darkness | Kagero: Deception II | Deception III: Dark Delusions | Trapt | Fantasy Life | Mugen Souls | Hyperdimension Neptunia | Gungrave: Overdose | Tokobot: Mysteries of the Karakuri | Lollipop Chainsaw | Assassin's Creed | The Sly Collection | Enslaved: Odyssey to the West | Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch || + 3 more games)

- Expose myself to at least 10 games that I digitally own -- DONE (Minecraft: PS4 edition | Costume Quest 2 | Little Big Planet 3 | Trine | Thomas was Alone | Citizens of Earth | Pix the Cat | Aaru's Awakening | Don't Starve: Console Edition | Shadow Warrior || + 25 more games)

- Beat at least 5 games that I physically own -- DONE (Theatrhythm: Curtain Call [I saw the credits so I'm counting it!] | Dynasty Warriors 8: Empires | Destiny [I finished the story at that point so I'm counting it!] | Hatsune Miku 2nd | Disney's Magical World)

- Beat at least 5 games that I digitally own -- DONE (Attack of the Friday Monsters! A Tokyo Tale | Weapon Shop de Omasse | Costume Quest 2 | Thomas was Alone | Papers, Please! || + 8 more games)

Read up to the latest chapter in the One Piece manga -- DONE (I can play One Piece Pirate Warriors 3 without being spoiled so I'm counting it. I'm currently at chapter 779.)

Part 1: For two days a week, spend AT MOST 3 hours each day on Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn
Part 2: For three days a week, spend AT MOST 3 hours each day on Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn. One of those three days has to be a weekend.
Part 3: For five days a week, spend AT MOST 3 hours each day on Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn. One of those five days has to be a weekend.
(So I was able to hit Part 3 of this resolution by early March... but when the expansion came out, I was going back and forth between Part 2 and Part 3, often staying at Part 3. But since I didn't succeed in staying at Part 3 once I hit it, I'll consider myself reaching Part 2. When I counted my time in FFXIV, I never counted times when I was purely chatting or when I had my crafting macros / quick synthesis on, since I consider chatting as chatting (not playing the game), and I can be doing other things while using crafting macros / quick synthesis) 

To sum up: Out of my 15 resolutions, I completed 11.5. Yay me, lol. I guess it helped that most of these resolutions could be done at home, and I'm often at home when I'm not at work. Though... I'm not happy that I didn't spend any time towards learning Python or Japanese. I think learning Python could have helped me code my text-based game more efficiently. Learning Japanese... well, I really wanna learn Japanese! Hahaha. ><

Below are my resolutions for 2016. They are very similar to last year's resolutions, with a few additions:

New Year's Resolutions for 2016
- Save money 
- Spend at least 100 hours on learning Python
- Spend at least 100 hours on learning Japanese
- Create a text-based game 
- Create at least 1 story (short story, play, whatever)
- Watch at least 20 (or ALL) anime series I haven't watched that are in my collection
- Read at least 5 (or ALL) books (not manga) I haven't read that are in my collection
- Listen to at least 10 (or ALL) music CDs I haven't listened to that are in my collection
- Watch at least 15 (or ALL) movies / TV shows I haven't watched that are in my collection (TV shows will be counted by season)
- Expose myself to at least 10 games that I physically own
- Expose myself to at least 10 games that I digitally own
- Find 500 hours and put that towards catching up on either the Final Fantasy, Dragon Quest, or Persona series (this is sort of an inside joke resolution with some friends)
- Beat at least 5 games that I physically own
- Beat at least 5 games that I digitally own
For five days a week, spend AT MOST 3 hours each day on Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn. One of those five days has to be a weekend.
- Reduce my overall collection! This would be my collection for books, video games, music, movies, TV shows - maybe even my figures.

I'm almost thinking that until I go through more than 90% of my media collection, my resolutions will be like this -- pushing me to go through my collection, lol. I mean... if I ever plan to move out (I still live with my parents), I don't want to take so much with me. And if I do end up taking so much with me, I wanna be certain they are things I actually want in my collection. As well, I'd like to have more space in my room. Until it becomes habitable for others, nobody except my sister and her husband are allowed in my room, hahaha.

The "find 500 hours and put that toward catching up on either the Final Fantasy, Dragon Quest, or Persona series" is a joke with some friends. I'm sure I've mentioned this before in earlier blog entries, but when it comes to playing through video game series, I do my best to play them in order, even if the games have nothing to do with each other. For example, I still need to play through Final Fantasy VII, VIII, IX, X, XII, and XIII before I can play Final Fantasy XV, even though none of the previous Final Fantasy games are related to Final Fantasy XV. So... since some of my friends are skeptical about me having the time to play the older games, I'm gonna see if I can find some!

2015 in Review
Well, I think 2015 was pretty similar to 2014. Even though I played less of Final Fantasy XIV... my year was still full of online experiences and memories. I would go so far to say that many of the things that really impacted me happened online. I'm still experiencing a "lifetime" in there. I... don't really know how to take to this. Haha, should I be concerned? All I can say is that for sure: starting Final Fantasy XIV in 2014 has definitely changed my life. It's changed my perspective with online interactions and friendship, among other things. 

Regardless, just as I said last year, even with the hardships and lows I have no regrets about Final Fantasy XIV being in my life. The positives of meeting and connecting strongly with those whom I'd never be able to meet otherwise -- they will always outweigh the negatives.

Non-online-wise, I find that my life is pretty much at a standstill. I guess around my age, one would think I'd have some kind of plan laid out for me -- what I'll be doing, where I'll be living, what I'll be working towards. But... I really don't know, lol. I don't have an answer for any of those things. Often I wonder, 'What is my role? Do I have one? Does it matter?' I've always wondered about those things, but I guess it's more on my mind these days.

To quote Jean-Paul Sartre (I first heard this quote from the anime Black Lagoon): "People are like dice. We throw ourselves in the direction of our own choosing." Right now I don't know where to throw myself. I don't know what to choose >_< And... does it matter? Lol.

"My theme song" this year: I don't have one this year. I wasn't really exposed to any new music that spoke to me until late in the year so I've got nothing.

Notable/Significant Memories/Events in 2015
Satoru Iwata's passing: I still think back to this.

Experienced a real-life room escape game for the first time: As of this writing I've done 4 rooms and have successfully escaped from 2. If designed well, these are really fun.

Attended Fan Expo 2015: I will always remember taking that picture with the huge Baymax.

Share-playing a PS4 game with somebody for the first time: I share-played Super Meat Boy. I just wanted some "entertainment" while eating my breakfast that day.

All my nightmares: I don't know why, but my nightmares this year have been really doing a number on me. Whenever I get them, I often wake up after an hour of sleep, my emotions in a mess. While it's normal to get nightmares... it's been years since I've had them this... intense. I feel they target my core, and I don't like it.

Helped organize and attended my sister's bachelorette: Thankfully I had others helping me with this. And no, there were no strippers.

Created with my sister our own version of Cards Against Humanity: It was tough to cut out all the cards... but it was so fun coming up with the questions / statements and answers.

Attended my sister's wedding: It was short and sweet. And the minister's eyeglass lens popped out at the funniest time.

Attended my friend's wedding reception: I will remember my sister and her husband dancing Gangnam Style.

Spending time with my friends (Online AND Offline): This is always going to be mentioned here. I wish I could have more time to spend with them.

Being a part of a player-run fashion show in FFXIV: This was difficult and stressful at times, but it was also really fun, challenging, and interesting. It was the first time I experienced a player-run event in an MMO.

Participating in a player-run cosplay contest in FFXIV: This was really fun, despite all the leveling I had to do with my classes to try wearing certain class-specific / level-specific gears.

August 20th: I'm not going to go into detail about this, but that day really affected me. I'll probably forget the exact day in years to come, but I think I will always remember that day. :)

Top Whatevers in 2015
This is my top list of what was released in 2015 that I experienced. There won't be much here since I'm often behind on the times.

(Movie): Kingsman: The Secret Service
I'm sure some people would debate about this, but it is indeed my top movie for 2015. After watching it for the first time, I wanted to watch it again soo, sooooo badly. I ended up watching it again two days later -- and then three other times, hahaha. This was the first time I ever watched the same movie 5 times in theatres. That universe... I really, really like it.

(Video Game): Hatoful Boyfriend [PS4]
What can I say about this game that I haven't already said in my review? It really took my emotions on a ride. I never thought I'd ever care so much about digital birds, hahaha...

(Song - English): All I Need by David Choi
My sister shared this song, and immediately I took to it. It could have been my "theme song" if I wasn't exposed to it so late in the year. I really like how the song can be so painful and yet so hopeful at the same time. At least, that's how I interpret it. Here, have a listen if you like:

"All I Need" by David Choi

Top Exposures in 2015
This is my top list of what I was exposed to this year, regardless of what year it really came out in. Any titles with two years indicate the original release date, then the English release date. If I list here the same thing from my "Top Whatevers", I will also mention a runner-up.

(Anime): Tie between Persona 3 the movie -#1 Spring of Birth- (2013/2014) and Attack on Titan (2013/2014)
I really loved seeing the Persona 3 characters come to life in the movie as well as the main protagonist's personality. For Attack on Titan, I just think it was really well-done. Animation, characterization, atmosphere, theme songs. It was great, and I'm really looking forward to Season 2. 

(TV show): Orphan Black (2013-present)
Once I started watching this series I got hooked. Very mysterious and intriguing. Felix is my favourite character so far.

(Movie): Kingsman: The Secret Service
Runner-up would be The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014). The Grand Budapest Hotel is just so ridiculous, fun, and funny. I really enjoyed it.

(Video Game): Senran Kagura Burst (2012/2013) [3DS]
I don't know if anybody would be surprised this would be my top exposure, but I assure you -- it is because of its substance, not just the "plot". Suggestive jokes aside, this game is really fun. I like the gameplay, the characterizations, the stories. And there is a lot of story and characterizations here. It's not just fluff ;)

(Song - English): All I Need by David Choi
Runner up would be Caravan (1936), as performed in the movie Whiplash (2014). I'm not really a fan of jazz music... but this rendition, associated with the story / characters in Whiplash... it's really good.

(Song - Japanese): Tie between Only Yesterday by GLAY (2014) and Let Me Be by GLAY (2009)
Ahh, GLAY... one of my favourite bands. I wish I knew what the lyrics to either songs meant. I just know that with Only Yesterday, I really enjoy its rhythm. It makes me want to dance, but I also sense some sadness from it. With Let Me Be, I feel it helps express what I'm feeling sometimes. I'm usually not a fan of really slow ballads, but this one really speaks to me. I want to sing it for karaoke one day. Have a listen if you like:

"Let Me Be" by GLAY

(Celebrity): Colin Firth (as Harry Hart; as Bertie)
I'm very embarrassed to admit, but I didn't know who Colin Firth was until I watched Kingsman: The Secret Service. I loved him as Harry Hart. Then... after listening to / watching interviews with him on Youtube, I came to really admire / respect / like him. I thought, 'If what he says in those interviews are true... if that's how he's really like around others... this is a really cool guy'. From his interviews I often sense honesty, intelligence, and playfulness -- traits that I think are awesome, hahaha. I'm still trying to watch through more movies with him in it, but so far I also really love him as Bertie in The King's Speech.


And that's that for my review of 2015.

Last year, I noted a few things / changes that I anticipated in 2015. Here they are again and what happened with them:
Having less media in my collection (This didn't happen)
Finding myself in a different environment (This didn't happen)
Spending less money on media (It turns out I spent about the same as last year)
Changing (Yes -- not externally, and not really my core personality... but something definitely shifted in me this year)

Now, here are a few things / changes I anticipate in 2016 for me:
- Having less media in my collection (this has to happen this year... I think my room is nearing max capacity, hahaha)
- Spending more time on learning and creating and a bit less time on gaming (it'd be great if I could do all three: learning, creating, and gaming)
- Finding myself with more time (I don't know... I kinda sense this may happen, for whatever reasons) 
- Becoming more independent (I actually don't really think this would happen... but let's see, I guess)

If you've made it this far, thanks for reading! I hope that 2016 will be an awesome year for you all. Just like the previous years (I blame my work for me getting excited over this), here's a % breakdown of my spending in 2015 (excluding necessities like my cell phone plan, transportation expenses, etc.), comparing it to 2014. Click on the image to enlarge it.

I figured with my room being so full of stuff, I'd end up spending less on video games, but that doesn't seem to be the case at all...

And now... here's another chart. Again, click on the image to enlarge it:

After lumping back all the split out categories so I could compare my spending to the last two years, I can see some clear trends. I'm spending more in: video games + junk food (hmm... please don't tell me these two items are correlated! haha); I'm spending less in: DVD/CD/Blu-Rays + Eating Out. Once again... I need to spend more money on clothes, lol.

Thanks again for reading! I hope the new year will have a lot of wonderful memories for you. Next week will be a blog I enjoy doing every year: My "list of movies I've watched in theatres for the year" blog. Take care everybody! :)

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