Houkou Studios

Adventurer of art and games

Holidays

Alright, so tomorrow I’ll be leaving on vacation, and won’t be back until Christmas Eve. During that time I’ll likely be skiing, having fun, and slaving over my comic.

This is the first time I’ve been where we’re going during the winter, so it’ll be interesting to see how it goes.

While I’m there, I’ll keep up with what’s going on (there) and post a full update when I return, which will be sometime between when I return and maybe shortly after Christmas. I won’t have internet so you won’t hear from me until then.

December 18, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | Leave a comment

We can be slow sometimes

Okay, so, I was listening to the following arrange this morning:

I actually requested this one, to be honest, and I’m quite pleased with Emiya’s choice, so I’ve been listening to it a fair deal the past few days. Well, as I said, I was this morning too, and had my sound quite loud so it could resonate through the whole house as I got ready for school (late).

Anyways, I just started up Firefox something like ten minutes ago. I had forgotten that I left the tab open when I closed it, so when I opened it up, I noticed it was still there. As the page was still loading, it didn’t really dawn on me yet… Eventually my gaze slowly moved over to my left speaker as it usually does (the left speaker is the one with the volume control, by the way), and even then it took a few moments for me to realize what would happen. It was still way up from this morning. I finally realized after a few moments that I was about to be blasted with some amazing piano right in the face, and quickly moved my hand to the speaker, when just then…

…Well, I’m sure you know the rest

Also, I just greeted someone who had posted on a shoutbox two hours ago, and only afterwards realized that they had posted so long before.

December 14, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Stress build-up

You usually see a very limited amount of my stress released at school. Even online, I very much dislike letting out beyond my usual mellow self, and I also hate taking it out on everyone else. But I’ll be honest: I feel terrible. Absolutely, horrendously terrible. I keep breaking down at home under all the stress. Tonight has been particularly bad.

First there’s physics. We keep bringing up old concepts, and our teacher has a notorious habit for always standing in the way of the board, making it an incredibly frustrating task to take down our notes. The class has me struggling, but to keep my senses, rather than my marks, stable. Then there’s our stuff for our Teacher Adviser period, which in itself is stress-inducing and feels like a terribly unnecessary chore. A number of English assignments are also desperately in need of completion. English, at least, is the break from the major cause, physics.

Adding to the top of that is my computer, which is slowly dying and making even browsing the net frustrating. More recently, too, are issues with YouTube (further and as-of-yet unsolved frustration), and tonight, my foot, which is strangely in pain, making walking something I don’t want to do. My recent cough, caused by pollution lingering in the stagnant winter air, certainly isn’t cheering me up much either.

It’s two major classes and then one just thrown in… God, how can this be so bad? I’ve never had such trouble any other year before, even when having every period filled. I really don’t want to deal with it, though…

December 3, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

New Moon in cinimas

Well, I just returned from seeing New Moon at the theatre. It’s okay. But really, I won’t give it any more credit than it deserves. That’s really all it was: An okay movie.

Right from the start, it failed to explain anything. It’s a sequel and nothing but: you are pretty much required to have seen the previous movie, which I haven’t, and so am still very unclear about a lot. During the view of what goes on near the end which you’re shown at the start: “Who are you, where are we, WHAT IS GOING ON??” After that, at the real start: “Woah, why is Edward so pale?” After it’s mentioned he’s a vampire: “Huh? But why is Belle dating him? She IS dating him, right? How’d they get together? And what’s with the mixed relationship with their peers who I assume are apparently their friends??” I still don’t know the answers.

Also, I have to side with the “vampires don’t sparkle!” crew. Their whole “fading away” effect or whatever is just lame. Edward himself is far too much of a pretty boy to come off as the…I dunno, angsty?…guy that he especially and some of the others seem to act. I might have liked the movie a little more if he wasn’t in it, in fact. He makes the movie, but Belle is the protagonist, which twists things up way too much considering his character.

Next, I’d like to mention Loron. “Who is he?! How does he know Belle? Who is this Valentina he works for??” I still don’t know, except for Valentina. I don’t even KNOW what happened to her, though. She dived off a cliff, appeared for a brief moment in the water when Belle dived in, and then was never seen again for the rest of the movie. She was only mentioned once that I noticed afterwards and her fate was left hanging in the air. At least I know Loron was killed, and at least I understand somewhat their motives for wanting to kill Belle, but everything else seems to just be thrown together. In fact, much of the plot seems thrown together.

I didn’t like the ending one bit. Jacob (Belle’s friend who supported her after Edward abandoned her, thinking it was for her own good) and Edward were about to face off, and Belle ran in the middle and said “You can’t hurt each other without hurting me!” Jacob was left with a sad face and ran off to who-knows where. Edward tried to negotiate with Belle because he didn’t want to change her into a vampire. “You must stay with me for eternity.” “I already said I would.” Then a long pause and “Marry me,” from Edward. Then, BANG! It’s over! Again, an awful lot was left in the air.

There’s a lot of other stuff I can pick on but it’s mostly the same thing. There were a few funny parts in the middle and a couple fights (though the only one worth watching isn’t even worth watching due to effects and lack of excitement, making the wolf chases and fights more worthwhile), but really, it’s all drama. And not really much drama of the right kind if you ask me. Alright for a movie, but I could have found much better ways to spend my time.

November 22, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | 3 Comments

Missing You

Why is it that now that he’s gone, I want to talk to him most of all?

It’s because I miss him already.

November 16, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | 2 Comments

The Pokéwalker

The Pokéwalker

This is the Pokéwalker. It’s a rather neat little piece of hardware which comes bundled with Pokémon Heart Gold and Soul Silver. With the Pokéwalker, you’re capable of transferring a Pokémon over to it from your game. You have to have at least one Pokémon in your box before you can do this, but other than that, its use is available from the get-go. The Pokéwalker menu accessible from the main menu and is the third on the list of options.

Very simply, the Pokéwalker is like a pedometer. When you first open the box, it has the plain backing already attached, but also comes with an additional backing with a clip attachment. I wouldn’t actually recommend putting it on your belt, though, as it’s a rather tight fit there. Instead, I personally choose just to clip it to my pocket, which works just as well. If you examine the Pokéwalker, you’ll find at first that the counter seems a little awkward, although you’ll later realize that it actually works very nicely. Of course, you can also just shake it instead of walking with it to build up steps on it, but it’s difficult if you don’t know how to shake it the right way.

As you walk, you’ll build up steps (obviously), which actually has the added bonus of letting you find rarer Pokémon and items with the Pokéwalker. The step counter is reset at midnight each day (it has an internal clock which is synced with your DS when you connect it to your game). You also built up Watts as you walk, and these are very essential for making full use of many of the Pokéwalker’s features. Unlike the step counter, these are retained until you connect with your game again.

There are two major tools that can be used on the Pokéwalker. The first is a Pokéradar. It costs 10 Watts to use it, but this is how you’ll find Pokémon on the ‘walker. Four patches of grass will show up and a number of exclamation points will appear over one of them. Selecting that patch and clicking the center button may activate a battle, although sometimes you’ll be required to select patches again before a battle will start. Rarer Pokémon may appear after you’ve taken a large number of steps and require you to select more patches in a row. The battle system is quite simple. You have Attack (left arrow), Dodge/Counter (right arrow), and Pokéball (center button). It’s worth noting that it’s possible for the Pokémon to run (it will escape if you dodge, and take a critical hit if you attack), and if you fail to capture the Pokémon it will also run away. Each Pokémon only has 4 hit points. It’s shockingly simple though with little worries of type matchups or anything like that.

The other major action is using the Item Finder. It costs 3 Watts each time you use it. Six patches of grass show up on the screen, and you can choose two of them. Only one item is in the patches of the grass. If you fail finding it the first time, you will be informed that the item is either close (Japanese: ちかくに はんのう) or far (Japanese: とおくに はんのう), which should help you improve your chances of finding the item.

The Pokéwalker is also nice as it helps increase your Pokémon’s level and happiness. You get some bonus Watts when your Pokémon’s happiness goes up, however levels won’t be awarded until after you’ve transferred your Pokémon back to the DS. The downside to raising levels with the Pokéwalker though is that your Pokémon won’t learn moves or evolve by leveling up upon returning from the Pokéwalker, which can cause some troubles if you try to rely on it for levels (which you shouldn’t, as it’s not very fast anyways, just nice for the passively obtained experience). Also, if you meet someone else with a Pokéwalker, you can exchange items and Pokémon which you’ve obtained on them.

When you first start with the Pokéwalker you only have access to two areas, and most of the Pokémon and items available there are relatively common. There also isn’t a large selection of Pokémon available in each area although this makes it a little easier to single out which area to go to if you’re looking for a specific Pokémon. When you connect the Pokéwalker to your game again, Pokémon and items which you obtained will be transfered to your game, as well as any Watts you built up. The number of Watts obtained is recorded on the game, and when you’ve built up enough excess Watts new areas will become available. A few areas are also available through Nintendo events, and these areas often contain Pokémon who are either very difficult or impossible to obtain otherwise, frequently knowing rare attacks. Yellow Forest is one example, and so far has been the only Pokéwalker area to be released through a WiFi event. Only Pikachu are available in Yellow Forest, but some of them know rare moves that they may not be able to learn otherwise, including certain egg moves, Surf and Fly.

November 15, 2009 Posted by | Gaming | | 2 Comments

Fond Farewell, Trayvon

You may be leaving, but you will always have a place in my heart, and I will always welcome you back. I refuse to say goodbye, so I will instead say “see ya later!” I will see you again, I know it.

The months to follow will be slow, drawn out, and even painful without your presence. There will be a certain air, a certain taste that lingers that simply lacks, and I’ll know it’s because you’re not around. It won’t be very exciting, I’m certain. It will also be difficult to find another with tastes that parallel my own to enjoy the best music with. In fact, before you depart, I wish to share one more song with you, courtesy of the Poltergiest Mansion. One of my favorite arranges of one of the most emotional songs ever by Zun.

To quote myself: “Happiness and sorrow… Victory and loss… This song is so much at once.” I’ll be completely honest, I’ve already teared up a couple times. I’m going to feel so down tomorrow, knowing that I won’t see you again for a very long time. I’ll try to be strong for you, though. I don’t want you to have to worry about me, although you may. But come back to visit when you have the chance. It’s just not the same without you around. Having seen you leave for lengthened periods of time before, I can assure you it’s very much the case.

Good luck, Trayvon. I will look forward to your return, and you can expect a grand welcome back at that time.

November 14, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Soul Silver has arrived!

It was only moments after my last entry was posted that the doorbell rang. I had just left to the kitchen to make my lunch for the day when the postman stepped to the door. I noticed him, and part of me just jumped with excitement (though I didn’t physically jump myself), as that part was certain that it had to be here. It had to have been less than a minute that had passed. The postman actually commented that I had answered awfully quickly, but then again, the house itself is not very big and I was barely across from the door when he rang.

In any case, I paid the customs on my package (which was actually just GST and a handling fee, both very standard fees) and signed for my package. My signature was actually pretty messy (compared to usual): I was excited, after all, but even moreso I’m used to writing on a solid surface (read: not a box). I’m very excited and am actually trembling as I type this. I never tremble unless I’ve had caffeine, and I haven’t had a drop of cappuccino for weeks!

So anyways, Soul Silver is here in a nice little box. This is day 18 since it was shipped. It’s late, but now I don’t care.

I will write up a full review on the game and its features later. For now, I have people to whom I must report to at school, as they know it’s been coming and how excited I’ve been for the game. That, and I have classes as per usual.

October 27, 2009 Posted by | Gaming | , , | Leave a comment

Tasteless music listeners, and arrogant to boot!

This has been bugging me for a while.

It is the guys over at the Poltergeist Mansion who have introduced me (and many, many others) to the world of Touhou rock, classic, and even techno. And it is the rather new Lyrica Playlist that this concerns the most.

“This isn’t techno. This is electronic. Those Japanese think they can make techno, but all they come out with is electronic,” says one of my “friends” who, in the past, has shown me some techno he likes (which I ended up hating) and so I showed him the Lyrica Playlist. Well, guess what? They apparently can’t write folk either, but that doesn’t make it bad.

Now, let me clarify. I used to dislike, even hate techno. Why? Because I found it dull, boring, and I was in fact frustrated with the boredom. It would have all been very relaxing if it wasn’t so. With the coming of the third Poltergeist, however, things changed a lot. Myonbel’s choices were amazing. I have loved almost every one of the Lyrica uploads, with only a couple which have made me go “eh”. It is an amazing success that has changed my view of techno for the better. But accusing it of being “electronic”? I do believe that like rock and classic, techno is a rather broad category, including several subclasses (including electronic), is it not? And does that really make it bad? Of course not. My “friend” would not even listen to the first of Lyrica playlist for its full value and god forbid he tried anything else! Certainly, a good portion of what is on the playlist has an “electronic” feel to it in varying increments, but the variety of music in it is as amazing and wide as the Lunassa (rock) and Merlin (classic) playlists.

I said he had no tastes. He then refuted by saying that I have no tastes. There’s a very different base to the arguments though. He’s saying that I have no tastes for what I listen to, which is really very silly. He doesn’t even know what I listen to either, as he won’t give it a chance, and that’s where I argument sits. In my opinion, any music listener (or any of many other things, from playing games to watching shows, among other things) only has good tastes if they are willing to try something they normally don’t. Before Lyrica, I disliked techno, and I am still very wary of techno from outside the grand wonderland Zun created (Touhou, and Zun is the one-man-team who brought it to us). I am also not very fond of Western culture in general, as much of it seems quite shallow. You listen to the radio and it’s “same old, same old,” you watch television, and a large portion of animated shows are cheap and badly written while similar tends to hold true for much of the live-action media. Maybe not all is bad, but if you ask me, the Japanese takes everything we do, but takes it much farther. You listen to Japanese music though, everything there seems truly amazing. Maybe I don’t hear enough Western music, but that still wouldn’t cut off the fact that some of the best singers I’ve heard, best musicians, best composers are all Japanese. I don’t know about live-action in Japan but I do know that their cartoons are much nicer written and animated than many of ours, as well.

Anyways, I don’t actually feel like rambling on too much further… But anyone who isn’t willing to actually try the music another listens to should not at all be allowed to judge that person’s tastes. I will let one decide if they like a particular song or not or even a particular genre, but when they try to judge whether something is good or not, especially types of music, that is when I draw the line. I will listen to new music and decide, “do I enjoy this?” If I do, great. If I don’t, I’ll move on to the next thing I have to listen to. However, I never try to judge whether something is good or not… I only put things from my point of view and am very reasonable with recognizing conflicting points of view. It is the arrogant people who think that their view is right, though, that make me more angry than even the boring techno itself.

I will finish up by mentioning my opinion of a quote by a very good musician.

“The purpose of art is to create an emotional response in the person that is exposed to that art.” – Paul O’Neill of Trans-Siberian Orchestra

Music is indeed an art, and in my opinion, any great art is one that expresses energy and emotion, and this is especially true with music. I will enjoy almost anything with a lot of positive energy and emotion, and even anything expressing a lot of either will usually be a hit for me. I’m not very picky, now, am I? With that in mind, I think I’d like most of anything that’s truly worth listening to. Anyone who can say that something with a lot of energy and emotion written within its notes is bad without listening to it and its counterparts for their full value truly has no tastes at all.

October 27, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | 1 Comment

Woah, what?!

“What’s this?! A blog?! I can hardly believe it!”

No, no, I’m perfectly aware that most of you are probably just thinking, “Oh, she made a blog.” Ah, well. In any case, I had a rather empty, dull Saturday afternoon and so decided that instead of wasting it away doing either who-knows-what or attempting to find a who-knows-what to do, I should actually do what I mentioned I may do and start a blog.

So, what am I actually going to do on my blog? Well, I suppose I’ll post up news on my artwork and such as well as comment on any other interesting things that happen in my life. After all, a lot of very uninteresting things happen in my life, but more often than not I don’t post anything about them as I don’t want to spam up the forums (like someone who has been using them as a blog, which they most certainly are not intended for) or your messages on dA (which also is not intended to be used as a blog, correct?). Of course, I’ll probably still write about major things that happen there, but I’ll keep most of my regular old, everyday boring life here. I may also critique new games when I get them or share anything interesting I stumble across as I wander my way around the internet. I’ll try to keep the content of this blog at least somewhat interesting, at least.

Well, that’s about all I have to say at the moment concerning the many people I already know. For those that don’t, the name’s Eska, and I’m quite the gamer and artist. I’m not so much into shooters in general (with a small handful of exceptions, such as the Touhou Project or Starfox), but very much like adventure or rpgs, and am willing to at least try most games within reason. I grew up on Nintendo, but I am in no way a fangirl. As a matter of fact, I absolutely despise those disgusting blemishes wandering the gaming community. However, I will write about them at another time. For now, know that I am actually quite open-minded. I proudly support the strong points of Nintendo’s systems but will openly admit that they have weak points as well.

As far as art goes, I tend to draw in more of an anime or manga style, although it is quite my own style which I have worked on developing the past number of years. Although I’ve only been drawing people regularly for few years now (about the time I entered high school, in fact), I’ve drawn various animal or animal-like characters for much longer and so the style and quality of my artwork has undeniably improved over the years. Other than drawing, I also view and critique a lot of artwork on deviantART, where I also show most of my own (notable) work. Anyone who is sincerely interested in my work should see my deviantART page (Houkou-NRL). You may view all of my work even without signing in, but keep in mind that you may not post or otherwise redistribute any of it outside of deviantART, except via the sharing feature or otherwise a link to the page in question. I will not go into the reasoning of it here, but just follow this simple rule when handling my artwork and all will be well.

Moving on, I’m also on YouTube (LyzaraKitsune) and occasionally post gameplay videos for games I own or otherwise have played. In the past, this has mostly been osu!, although the games I’ve featured has been a bit more varied than just that.

I’ll cover most of my quirks (read: strange or not-so-strange mentalities) and activities independently later, but for now I would like to bring this entry to a close as it is already more than sufficiently long for an introduction to my blog and introduction to me. Until my next entry, have a fine time!

October 24, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment