Monday, December 31, 2012

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Rinoa = Ultimecia?

Gentle Reader,

All right, this is a Final Fantasy VIII thing, so feel free to skip if you aren't into that game.

Wow, I just discovered that there is this big controversy among fans of Final Fantasy VIII about whether or not Ultimecia is a future version of Rinoa.  I am really surprised because, when I played this game back in the day, I thought it was pretty obvious that you are supposed to come away from the final battle with this possibility in mind.

I think it would be wrong to say that Rinoa is Ultimecia, or that the game intends for you to believe that Rinoa is Ultimecia.  Rather, I think the storyteller is having a bit of fun with the player.  The storyteller wants to plant the idea of there being a connection, but the question is never really answered.  There isn't necessarily a correct answer at all.  Still, I was really surprised that so many people insist that this idea comes totally out of left field or is otherwise absurd.

I'm not going to recount the entire Rinoa/Ultimecia theory here, but I will remind the reader of just a couple of points.

- Ultimecia's costume is essentially a duster, like Rinoa's, and it also includes a wing motif, as does Rinoa's.

- Ultimecia's castle stands on the spot that Rinoa and Squall promised to return to if they ever had to find each other.

- While on the Ragnarok, Rinoa tells Squall that she wants time to stand still.  This is also what Ultimecia wants, ultimately.

- Squall idolizes the lion, and he has a lion necklace which he calls Griever.  Rinoa is the only person with whom Squall shares the idea of Griever.  Later, Zell promises to make a ring for Rinoa to match Squall's necklace.  Later still, the player can find a GF called Doomtrain that is housed within a ring.  Then, at the end of the game, Ultimecia summons "the ultimate GF," which turns out to be... Griever.  So, the idea is that Griever was more than just an idea, and that it was in fact a GF that came to be housed within the ring, and to which Ultimecia was junctioned.

- As described more than once during the game, junctioning a GF causes the user to lose parts of his/her memory.  This could explain why Ultimecia does not seem to recognize the heroes when they confront her.

It has often been said that Square officially denied the idea of Rinoa being Ultimecia (though I have yet to find a cite for this).  However, even if this is the case, then how does one explain a few oddities that appear in Dissidia 012 Final Fantasy, in which Ultimecia is a playable character?

Point #1 - Ultimecia's unique weapons are all weapons that were used by Rinoa in Final Fantasy VIII.

Point #2 - When Ultimecia and Squall meet, Ultimecia's way of greeting Squall is to ask him if he wants to dance.  This is similar to the first time that Squall met Rinoa, at which point Rinoa asked him to dance.

Seems to me like the folks behind Dissidia are playing with the player, and toying with the idea that these two characters are in fact the same person.  That doesn't make it canon, but it underscores that it isn't completely out of bounds to draw such a connection.

Again, I am not saying that Rinoa is or must be Ultimecia.  But, I do not understand why people say that the idea is unfounded.  It seems to me like everything about Ultimecia is designed to hint at the possibility of her being Rinoa.  But, whether or not it is actually the case is for each individual player to decide.  That's all!

Ever Yours,

Friday, December 21, 2012

The End of the World

Cheers to another year, and to yet another end of the world prophecy that went unfulfilled.

May we all find something to love in our glorious new futures.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Notice Regarding Golbez Hack

Gentle Reader,

Here is where my total ignorance regarding the technical side of ROM hacking is made evident!

I know that some people have had difficulty patching the hack to the ROM.  As it happens, the  patch is only compatible with a headered ROM.  It won't work with a nonheadered ROM.  I was too ignorant to realize this myself, but someone who downloaded the hack pointed it out to me.

Once the patch is applied to the headered ROM, the exact filesize should be 1,049,088 bytes.

Also, while we're on the topic, there will be an update to the hack in 30-60 days.  I discovered a few minor bugs that can be easily corrected.


Ever Yours,

Tuesday, December 11, 2012


Gentle Reader,

He very well might be history's greatest monster, but I just can't help but love him!

And best of all, South Park Babies!!!


Ever Yours,

Sunday, December 9, 2012

UPDATE - Final Fantasy IV: Kain "Unhelmeted" Hack

Gentle Reader,

This is a modest revision to the "unhelmeted Kain" mini-hack that I released about a year ago.  The update consists of... (drum roll...) a modified menu portrait, based on Kain's appearance in The After Years.  I will probably do a Version 3.0 of this hack eventually that includes a modified battle sprite, but I just haven't gotten around to designing one yet.

Mazel tov!

Download Link
Original Article

Ever Yours,

Friday, December 7, 2012

Story Extract: Saving the Whales

Gina had met Dr. Armand Guillaume as a graduate student in marine biology.  Starstruck, she immediately made the first of many gaffes, calling him the Jacque Cousteau of the 21st Century, a moniker which he was widely known to despise.  He was annoyed and she was humiliated, but something moved him to give her another chance.  A bond quickly formed, the type of friendship that can only emerge from a shared obsession, and it only intensified with time.  Armand was Gina's teacher, her mentor, her friend, and the one that held the key to her dreams.

The new species was called Guiallume's whale in the popular press.  It was named in Armand's honor, as per tradition.  Yet, the official name that Armand pressed for was Balaenoptera leviathanus--the Leviathan.  Gina rolled her eyes when he told her, but he'd come back with a simple question:  what species could be more deserving?  The blue whale, the largest animal previously known to exist, could reach lengths of 200 feet and weights upward of 130 tons.  Guiaullume's whale was estimated at 500 feet in length, and as it seemed to have similar dimensions to the blue whale, they'd estimated its weight at over 250 tons.  And that was being conservative.

There was debate as to whether it could be classified as Balaenoptera at all.  Living at such depths, it was doubtful that it could ever surface to breathe, as light would be entirely alien to it, and the lower pressure levels at shallower depths would almost certainly kill it.  It would then be the first known cetacean to have adapted to living permanently underwater, extracting oxygen from the water like a fish.  It appeared, based on its body shape, to be a whale descendant, but perhaps the resemblance to Balaenoptera was due to convergent evolution.  It was impossible to say without more data.

Yet, to Gina's frustration, she found that no one was all that that interested in discussing the whale with her.  Reporters were only interested in scandal, but it wasn't hard to guess why.  Gina was a good-looking girl in her twenties, the All-American Sweetheart.  Armand was nearly fifty, but he was handsome, tan, and as fit as a man half his age, with hair that was still deep black aside from a touch of gray at his temples.  But Armand preferred blondes and Gina preferred men who could never make her feel stupid.  Gina dismissed the rumors at every turn, as did Armand, but it did little to stop people talking.  She said to herself, if only they would talk about the whales.  But it was futile, and she knew it.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012


I ship Nivanfield hard.

What you say!!!???  How dare you question Nivanfield!!!???


Saturday, December 1, 2012

DOWNLOAD - Final Fantasy IV: Golbez Edition Hack v1.2

Gentle Reader,

Version 1.2 of my Playable Golbez Edition hack is now available!

This is a much more ambitious revision than what was attempted in Version 1.1, and I hope that you will give it a try.  Please review the accompanying readme file for details.

Click here to download:

Golbez Edition Hack version 2.1 download (Updated 10/1/14) article

Ever Yours,

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

To get you in the Golbez mood...

Gentle Reader,

Check this out!!!

This is some extremely epic Golbez-themed art made with beads.  So awesome!!!  I seriously want one of these now!

Here are links for the artist who made this.  Be sure to look at his other video game bead art, it's amazing!

deviantART Page

Ever Yours,

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

What I am thankful for:

- I have plenty to eat.
- I'm not freezing to death.
- I don't suffer from cholera or any of those fashionable pre-modern diseases.
- I don't have to deal with hostile natives.
- I don't have to deal with hostile foreign invaders.
- Secure entry on my building means no more holiday missionaries.
- I am not a turkey.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

UPDATE - Final Fantasy IV: Golbez Edition Hack

Gentle Reader,

Here are some new shots to show progress with version 1.2 of the Golbez Edition Hack.

First up, I finally managed to fix the message windows that accompany the formerly dummied-out commands.  They were blank in previous releases but now display appropriate text.

Next up, the release will include half a dozen new equipment items which give the party members a variety of abilities.

And... the endgame contains some especially cool surprises...

Watch for the new release on December 1st!

See Also:

Link Added 11/26/12:
Joke Teaser

Link Added 12/01/12:

Ever Yours,

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Love Letter to Cosmic Fantasy 2

Cosmic Fantasy 2
Publisher:  Working Designs
System:  Turbografx-CD / TurboDuo
USA Release:  1992

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Upcoming: Golbez Edition Hack 1.2

Gentle Reader,

Watch for the next release of my Golbez Edition Hack on December 1, 2012!

I think it's fair to say that Version 1.2 will not include any earth-shattering changes, but I do have some pretty cool surprises planned.  So, consider yourself warned!

Link Added 11/8/12:

Link Added 11/26/12:
Joke Teaser

Link Added 12/01/12:

Ever Yours,

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Shout Out

Gentle Reader,

This is a shout out to the Freezer Burned Esper blog for reviewing my Golbez Edition Hack!  It made my day to see a review that seemed to understand what I was trying to accomplish with my project.  I hope my visitors will make a point of it to visit the Freezer Burned Esper blog and see the review.

Thanks, guys!

Freezer Burned Esper Blog

Ever Yours,

Friday, October 12, 2012


This is the best episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000, in my personal opinion.

The movie itself is just sooo bad that you can hardly believe it.  The host segments are wonderful, especially the first one, which turns the adorable knob up to eleven.  And the hobgoblins themselves, which are apparently supposed to be scary, are actually pretty adorable themselves, and completely impossible to take seriously.

Yes, I would have a hobgoblin as a pet. I admit it!  They're just too naughty!


Thursday, October 11, 2012

The Artistry of Game OVER Music

Phantasy Star II
Publisher:  Sega
System:  Sega Genesis
USA Release:  1989

Phantasy Star III
Publisher:  Sega
System:  Sega Genesis
USA Release:  1991

Publisher:  Irem
System:  TurboGrafx-16
USA Release:  1991

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Making It After All

Gentle Reader,

 I can't express how much I love this little sequence.

This is a great show opener for a couple of reasons.  For one, it doesn't fall into the trap of using random, out of context clips from various episodes in place of a more substantive opening.  I HATE opening sequences like that, even though just about every show I grew up with used them.  They don't convey any of the meat of the story or characters, and it's just lazy all around.

This sequence is the polar opposite of that.  It's amazing how much is conveyed in a 45 second montage.  Mary is moving away and starting a new career.  She's leaving behind everybody she knows, and they're going to miss her, but they're also happy for her.  Upon arrival in the big city, Mary is overawed by her new surroundings.  Time goes by, and it starts to sink in that this really is her new life.  By the time she realizes it, she loves the way her life is going.  She's made it.

Who wouldn't want to feel like that, just 30 years old and embarking upon an exciting new chapter?  I felt like this when I had a huge promotion just a few months after my 30th birthday.  Now, three years later, I feel like that again.  I feel like things are going great for me, in work and also with my personal creative endeavors.  It's easy to get sidetracked or discouraged, but in my better moments, I feel excited.  I feel just like Mary does in this clip.

Will I make it after all?  Well, I guess I don't know yet.  But hope and optimism sure are preferable to the alternatives.  Best of luck to all of us.

Ever Yours,

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Monday, September 17, 2012

The Good and the Bad of Fanfiction

Gentle Reader,

I used to write a lot of fanfiction when I was younger.  This is something that I admit to with more than a little embarassment.  It is widely thought that writing fanfiction is one of the nerdiest things that you can do, and frankly, I don't disagree.  It is also the case that most fanfiction is really, really terrible.  A quick Google search will confirm as much.

With that being said, I don't think my experiences with fanfiction were a waste of time, because they were a perfect opportunity for me to practice my writing, and hopefully to improve it, too.  The way I see it, fanfiction provides a lot of little crutches that can be very helpful to a writer-in-training.

1.) Many of the details of the fictional world and its characters are already established.  The writer can skip a lot of fatigue-inducing exposition and instead move right into the meat of the story.

2.) Since fanfiction is based on existant works, there are certain "rules" already in place as to how the fictional world operates.  Fanfiction is a playground, but it's a structured one.  Having a structure enforced upon the apprentice writer (even if only loosely) can provide good lessons, as well as a good challenge and a healthy dose of plain old fun.

3.) Regardless of what work fanfiction is based on, that work is bound to have an online community of fans.  These fans, or at least a portion of them, are a built-in audience for fan works.  This is great, because it allows writers to get immediate feedback on their work from other people who love the source material just as much as the writer does.  On the flipside, this can also mean exposure to critics, including very harsh ones, and this is important, too.  Writers need to develop a thick skin, because even the most brilliant writers encounter people who just don't care for their work.

A lot of people consider fanfiction a total waste, both to create and to read.  To that I say... well, maybe, but sometimes, maybe not.  I don't regret my time spent writing fanfiction.  Even if nobody reads it, and even if I look back on some of it and cringe, all of it helped me to hone my craft.  There's never anything to regret in that.  And besides, once in a while I will encounter a piece of fanfiction that really captured the spirit of the source material, or took it in a thrilling new direction that didn't seem to "break the rules" too much.  And since when is a good read ever a waste of tme?

Ever Yours,

Monday, September 3, 2012

Atheist Prayer

Gentle Reader,

I used to be a Christian but have become an atheist over the course of my life.  Being an atheist, however, does not mean that I have lost certain behaviors or patterns of thought that came naturally to me in my previous existence.  For example, I find myself wanting to pray for the safety of a friend or loved one who is in a potentially dangerous situation.  Or, I might find myself wanting to pray for answers or for a sense of peace when confronted with an especially difficult problem.

This impulse to reach out to something beyond ourselves is a natural part of the human condition.  In many aspects of our daily existence, we repeatedly call upon experts, authorities, and others who have knowledge or access that we do not, as we work to resolve various situations.  It isn't difficult to imagine how this impulse can lead to "calling upon the ultimate" when we are faced with the deepest and most important questions in life.

A theist is comforted by the belief that he can call upon the almighty governor of the universe in pursuit of answers, but an atheist does not have this option.  With this being the case, I think it can be helpful to have some other thing to focus one's hopes and intentions upon when working through stresses.  This "other thing" is by necessity something of our own imagining, and is therefore not a real god, being, or presence of any kind.  Even so, having this "other thing" to focus on can help to make us feel like we made ourselves heard, even if only to ourselves, just as having a strong vocabulary can make it easier to make our thoughts specific and definite, both when communicating with others, and also when talking inside of our own heads.

For me, this "other thing" takes the form of the old Greek pantheon.  Obviously I do not believe that the Greek gods are real in any sense of the word.  However, because there are so many of them, and because each of them represents certain specific things, they are useful as something to focus on when confronting various issues.  Again, it's not that I expect anyone outside of myself to hear my call and respond to it.  The "gods" simply give me something to focus on while I crystalize my hopes and intentions.  There is a certain peace in saying to one's self, "I explored my feelings, and this is what I truly feel, and I sincerely hope that however it turns out is for the best," and then sending that intention out of one's self into the world.  It's releasing an emotional burden.  Sure, it's just a trick of the human psyche, but it's a powerful one, and probably part of the reason why theistic belief developed in the first place.

Which gods relate to which areas of life is a pretty flexible question, but here is how I would summarize it.

Aphrodite - beauty, love, romance, sex
Apollo -  art, creativity, hobbies, self-improvement
Ares - competition, conflict, fitness, sport
Artemis - independence, introspection, perseverance, self-determination
Athena - academics, justice, philosophy, reason
Demeter - horticulture, moderation, nutrition, wellness
Dionysus - entertainment, food, frivolity, pleasure
Hades - death, loss, mortality, separation
Hephaestus - advancement, finances, obligations, work
Hera - communication, empathy, relationships, understanding
Hermes - change, emergencies, planning, travel
Hestia - community, domestics, family, friendship
Poseidon - animals, balance, nature, resources
Zeus - questions of the ultimate and the existential

I don't know if this idea will resonate with anyone else, but I was thinking deeply on it today, and decided to share my thoughts with the world.  Take it or leave it, and use in good health.

Ever Yours,

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Transformers Decoys

 Gentle Reader,

Boy, does this take me back!

I absolutely adored Transformers as a kid. Transformers:  The Movie came out just a couple of weeks before my seventh birthday, and my dad took me to see it.  That ended up being the best birthday of my childhood.  I had just fallen in love with the new characters introduced by the movie, and I ended up getting almost the entire cast!

The movie characters remain my favorites to this day.  I know that many fans of Transformers are kind of ambivalent about the movie and its cast, but dammit, I imprinted on them or something.  So I was delighted when the 1986 core characters continued to play a central role in the overall storyline, as shown here, in this 1987 mini-comic for the "decoys" gimmick.

Featured are Rodimus Prime, Ultra Magnus, Kup, Blurr, and Springer, as well as Galvatron, Scourge,  Cyclonus, and some random Sharkticons.  That is most definitely NOT First Aid, however.  It is clearly Ratchet, who was no longer available in 1987, due to having been rather cavalierly killed off in the movie the year before.  So, they had to flub and just sort of pretend that it was First Aid.  Lame.

Arcee is nowhere to be seen, unfortunately.  Poor Arcee, she could get no love back then. Not from Hasbro and not from whoever drew this comic.  But I loved you, Arcee!  I remember searching shelves for your action figure, and hoping against hope that they'd release you as a Headmaster.  They never did, but I still love you anyway!

Wheelie and Wreck-Gar are also absent, but... does anyone really care?  Yeah, didn't thnk so.

Ever Yours,

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Octopus Decor

Gentle Reader,

It may seem an odd choice, but I think that the octopus is a lovely motif in home decor.

What do you think?

Ever Yours,

Monday, August 13, 2012


I would never do drag, but I've decided that, if I ever did, my drag name would have to be Minty Pleasures.

That is all...

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Final Fantasy IV: Surprise Poses

Gentle Reader,

While I was working on my Golbez hack, I found myself wishing that Final Fantasy IV included the "surprise" poses found in Final Fantasy V and Final Fantasy VI.  So... I made them!

When and how would you use them?  Well, Final Fantasy IV playable characters have two poses for waving.  Only the first of these two poses is used in the vast majority of instances.  So, you could definitely get away with replacing the second one with a surprise pose, or whatever else tickles your fancy.

Let me know if you use them!

Ever Yours,

Saturday, July 28, 2012

The Big Move

Gentle Reader,

So!  I finished my move.  And you know what?  Moving is terrible!  But now it's over, and I'm enjoying my new place.  I mean, like, really enjoying it.  Every time I walk in, I say to myself, "Wait a second, how did I end up at Kensington Palace?"  And then I remember that my place is just that nice.  Coco Chanel can eat her dead little Nazi heart out.

Ever Yours,

Monday, July 2, 2012

I heart Torgo

Torgo appears to be saying, "My... boDY is... reaDY... MastER."

He must have heard about Anderson Cooper coming out.

Honestly I feel sad for you if you don't know who (or rather what) Torgo is.  Seriously, look it up or something, sheesh.