A Bit of Silanalysis

It’s been a pretty busy week for me. I’ve been in Florida doing scary journalism things, and I haven’t really had the time (or brain space) to sit down and write something for Absoludicrous I was truly proud of.

So what was my solution? Uh… well… it was to revive an old piece of writing I did about three years ago now. This was in the height of my Fire Emblem: Fates obsession, when the discourse surrounding one of my favorite characters, Silas, had upset me to the point I felt the need to type this whole thing out. At the time, I didn’t share it with anyone except my best Fire Emblem pal, Madison. Perhaps that was for the best, but I guess that doesn’t matter now.

To be fair to myself, I am currently replaying Fates, and the emotional reaction I had to Silas’s first appearance made me realize that a lot of the things I wrote here three years ago I still agree with. That being said, I did definitely give this little rant a good editing before I put it up here.

So, enjoy!

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They Won’t Let Me Take My Knitting on the Plane (I’m Not Happy)

When I told my good friend and resident knitter, Sam, that I wanted her to teach me how to knit, her eyes lit up. She had just taken on a knitting mission to make all of her closest friends scarves (a mission that, while very sweet and admirable, will probably take her forever due to her perfectionism… but that’s Sam for ya.) This meant she was knitting a lot – in the class we had together, in the lounge, while watching TV, when procrastinating from homework… basically, she was knitting everywhere, a lot of the time.

And it also meant that she was knitting a lot around me… and I was, for the first time, fully convinced of its value as hobby therapy.

So, excited to teach me what she knew, she and another friend of ours hopped into my car one weekend and drove off to JoAnn Fabrics.

The first task of the day was to help me find needles. We stopped in front of the section full of needles of all colors, materials, and sizes. My eyes were drawn to a particular pair immediately – they were metal, fairly large and thick, and – best of all – bright magenta. Like, I’m talking Libby Lu purple, here. I had to have them.

I immediately picked them up. “What about these?” I said, hoping there was something vaguely beginner-friendly about them.

Sam inspected them. “Actually, those would work perfectly. They’re a good size.”

Victorious, I took my needles and followed Sam to the yarn. She swore to me that she wasn’t going to buy any, as she had plenty and needed to save her money, but she quickly located a ball of yarn just perfect for her current project, and when I found a huge ball of nice, light yellow yarn for a great price, she bought herself a ball of it too.

Anyway, we both walked out with two balls of yarn, and I got my pretty needles, and everything was wonderful. Sam taught me to knit on the floor of her dorm room while we watched Avatar: The Last Airbender. It was actually not the first time I had learned, as a few years before my good friend Marie taught me as well.

But, for whatever reason (probably because I now had my own materials and a lot of pent-up anxiety to release) this time it stuck. I definitely wasn’t an expert right off the bat, and since the first yarn I used particularly wanted to fray, my stitches weren’t always the most even, but I grew to really like the task.

I’m not the first to try (and probably fail) to explain what exactly is it about knitting that makes it so calming, but I think it has something to do with the rhythm of it. Once you learn how to do it, it isn’t particularly hard and doesn’t require your full attention, but it’s also a nice, rhythmic movement that simultaneously brings about a product that looks neat and pretty and soft.

Anyway, I’m very into knitting now. It’s one of the things I like to turn to at the end of the day, when my homework is finished and I just want to watch some TV and keep my hands busy. But now… well…

You see, by the time this is posted, I’ll be almost ready to hop on a plane bound for Florida with my scholarship group. There, we’re gonna learn all about journalism and also maybe sometimes do some other stuff. I was looking forward to the calming, completely wifi-less activity of knitting to accompany me through the two flights we’ll be taking there but then I thought… wait, are they gonna be cool with me bringing two notably dagger-sized metal needles onto a plane?

A few google searches later and… uh, yeah. They’re generally not cool with that. They’re usually okay with wooden or plastic needles, but metal? Yeah, the TSA doesn’t go for that. So my pretty, Libby Lu magenta needles that make such a nice clicking sound when I knit… cannot come with me to Florida. Tragedy. Now what am I going to do with my free time when I’m there?? Interact with others?? Preposterous.

More on this horrible situation next week. (Maybe.)

Pokemon Starter SMACKDOWN

This week, we got our first look at the next main series Pokemon game, Pokemon Sword and Shield. From the small amount we’ve seen, I’m thrilled to have this game to look forward to. It looks graphically stunning and, I mean… it’s Pokemon! On a console! How amazing is that?

And of course, we got our first introduction to the new starters.

I tend not to choose which starter I prefer this early, so I’m not currently able to tell you for sure who will be accompanying me on my gen 8 journey once the game releases (but once I decide, maybe that’ll be a post for later). But I definitely wanted to do something fun to welcome these three into the long and prestigious line of starters.

So, what follows are my top 10 starters! I was originally going to rank every starter, but I didn’t want to have to make up reasons why I disliked some of the bottom ones. Because, honestly, there’s something great about every single one of the starters.

So, here we go!

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Killing Cringe Culture… In Yourself

From a young age I have been deeply, deeply interested in appearing intelligent and mature to everyone around me. I could not explain to you why this is the case, but it’s always been true. This fear has kept me silent in social situations many a time, and it still hits me every so often. It’s just one of those things.

I could chalk it up to a lot of things. Girls are expected to be mature much quicker than boys, so maybe it’s that. It also could be that I grew up a “gifted kid,” and so I had a lot of people telling me about how intelligent I am. Perhaps I just keep trying to live up to that. Maybe it’s just my personality, or something in the water, or who knows what.

But it is a little silly, when you step back from it. The older I get the sillier it seems, even if I can’t always stop it from rearing its ugly head.

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Fire Emblem: Three Houses Direct Reaction

(Click here for my last post on this game)

The last time we heard from Fire Emblem: Three Houses, it was June of last year. Fire Emblem fans were fatigued from the months of waiting from its initial announcement for something, anything that hinted to what sort of a game we would be getting. And now, after another 8 months of waiting and yet another release date pushback, we have gotten more detailed information on just what we’re in for for the next main series installment of this franchise I love so much.

What do I have to say about this news? Well… actually, I’m still pretty excited. There were some surprising bits of info we got, for sure, but after taking a few days to process it all and speculate a little with friends, I’m intrigued to see exactly what this game is all about.

So What’s New?

At the beginning of the trailer, we got confirmation of some of the things we had already sort of known about this game. It features three kingdoms existing in a relative peace after years of conflict, and the characters in the game are divided by which of these kingdoms they come from. We also got the confirmation that the player character is indeed a teacher to the characters.

However, I don’t think anyone called that the type of teacher the main character is is basically a Hogwarts-style professor in a school for warriors. I’ve seen some negativity surrounding this idea because people looove to hate on variations of the anime high school trope, but personally I think this is a really intriguing direction for the series to take.

It kind of seems like it could go hand-in-hand really well with the mechanics we’ve all come to expect from this series. Already in games past the player was able to manipulate and control the growth of the soldier characters they recruited, and applying this to a school setting, where instead of a tactician in an army you’re a teacher in a school, makes sense. Just like in games past, it gives you an automatic stake in caring for how the characters grow and how strong they get, because teachers inherently guide the growth of their students just as a tactician might guide the growth of their soldiers.

Finally, Fire Emblem characters can PUNCH

Plus, from the menus we’ve seen, I think that focus on growing the student characters will lead to some nice flexibility in what kind of niches each character can fill. Just like back in Awakening, it seems like we’ll have a lot more control over what kind of weapons, classes, and skills each character has, instead of being locked into certain possible classes like in Fates.

I’m also intrigued by the fact that certain skills are separated from others. For example, it looks like you can give a mounted unit any kind of weapon you want, instead of being locked into certain ones, or could mix magic and armor, or other combinations we’ve yet to see from previous games. As kind of a sucky strategizer, though, this kind of flexibility does make me kind of nervous. I’m hoping the game provides some sort of guidance of what combinations work best for what students, or at least that there are mechanics built in so I don’t completely ruin my students by guiding them towards skills they aren’t suited for.

(Or, perhaps, it would be neat if the students aren’t necessarily suited for anything, so you can just do whatever you’d like without worrying about making a bunch of useless soldier units. Who knows?)

We also got to see a bunch of new character designs. We don’t yet have a lot of information on who these characters are, but what I find interesting about them is how… and this is not an insult… plain they look.

What I mean by that is that characters in previous games had these very detailed sprites with a lot of built-in character to them. Looking at Niles gave you a very different impression than looking at, say Camilla or Azama or Beruka. Every character had a very clear role they played, just from looking at them.

And while it seems that most of the characters have clear personalities from their designs, they’re all wearing school uniforms, which makes me think that we are probably going to get a lot of say in what kind of a character, fighting-style wise, they become.

For example, this character is adorable, but nothing about his design screams, like “archer” or “knight” or anything, really. It seems like we probably get to decide what kind of fighter he is.

And that’s very exciting, but it’s a definite departure from the character designs of games past.

What (Might) Stay the Same?

The one big thing I was wondering, however, is how much of the support system we would get in this version of the series. It’s definitely one of my favorite features of games past, and always made me excited to use the different characters, since doing so would unlock conversations and more information about them. But in this new school setting, with you character playing a professor role, it does bring up whether or not romantic supports will be back in the game, or whether this game will go the route of Echoes and only allow some characters to have romantic supports, while others will only skew platonic.

I’m not gonna make a big stink yet about the idea of your professor character romancing their students, because we have no indication yet if that’s actually going to be a thing at all. I do think that it’s pretty confirmed that there is probably some sort of support system between the main characters and the student characters, mainly based on one screenshot.

Note the little heart icon above the dialogue box to the left. That confirms to me there’s some sort of support system going on here.

But this doesn’t necessarily confirm that you’ll be able to romance them, so I think it’s silly to be pushing the “Problematic” button so soon, especially since I think it’s definitely possible to have a professor character befriend the students and learn more about them that way without any weird predatory subtext.

And of course, it’s all-out confirmed that there will be supports between the students, and even group dynamics, it looks like, which sounds like it could be really fun.

There’s also the split paths idea again. Like Fates, it seems Three Houses will give you a choice of path, based on which house you choose to teach. We have been given no indication yet that this means there will be multiple game versions, like with Fates, but I’m hoping that no news is good news in this case, especially since the Special Edition set shown off seems to indicate there’s only one game version.

But yeah! Overall, I’m really excited to see what this game brings. I’m looking forward to getting to play another game in this wonderful series, get to know more characters, and experience a new adventure.

More on this game in July. Hopefully.

I, a College Sophomore, Bought Myself a Pony

If you’ve been with this blog for a while, I hope you’ve come to know me as someone who is unafraid of speaking her truth, at least as far as discussing media I like goes. I try to be honest to myself as much as I can – I don’t want to lie about the things I like in the interest of putting forth a “better” image of myself.

And so… I have a confession to make.

A couple of weeks ago, I went on eBay and I bought myself a My Little Pony.

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A Casual Descent into YouTube Cooking Video Hell

Something that has been informing my decisions a lot lately is my excitement for that shining day next year when I will move into an apartment for the first time. My friend Marisa and I are sharing it – an unfurnished, two-bedroom arrangement that is technically on-campus, but is far enough from anything else to make it feel like I’m a real adult. There’s a lot of things about living in an apartment I’m excited about – furnishing my own bedroom (heck, the fact that I have my own bedroom at all), a bathtub, not having to deal with freshmen anymore, no mold, less RPS interaction… but mostly I’m excited for having a kitchen for the first time.

I am not what you would call a cook. I like to cook things, but I am traditionally more of a helper in the kitchen. I’m not very good with knives, and I need a recipe if I’m going to be making anything edible. But lately I’ve been experimenting with the culinary arts whenever I’m home. This Christmas, I took on a Christmas cookie recipe of moderate difficulty, which turned out successful, even though I ended up disliking the cookies themselves. (I would like to think this was more the fault of the recipe just not being to my taste rather than anything I did.) And before I left high school, I did dabble in making dinner for my family, my signature dish being fried rice. I also quite enjoyed making jambalaya and attempting to copy a fire-roasted tomato soup recipe from one of my favorite dearly-departed restaurants, Paradise Cafe.

And I’ve always enjoyed the genre of “talented people exercising their craft” videos on YouTube. And, you know, I like Food Network.

So, by extension, I’ve been watching a lot of YouTube food videos lately.

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