5.19.2018

Questions, comments, concerns... and bananas

How can I make my blog better? Let's face it, I've been in this business for about two years, and I only have about 8 followers. It's not all about numbers, and you, my faithful few, are an awesome bunch. But of course, almost any (power-hungry) blogger will ask themselves: "How can I recruit more compatriots in my ultimate quest for world dominance?" Be honest, I know you have asked yourself that way more times than you can probably count.


But anyways, the point is, I don't get much traffic on this blog, and I want to ask you, my readers, why that is so, share my own theories on why this is so, and also, ask for any tips and advice you may have so I can make my blog better.

So obviously, there are some things right off that bat that need to be taken into account. I'm in a niche. Blogging is predominantly a "girl thing". Guys can (and should) blog, but the point is that finding your target audience can be slightly more difficult if you're a guy. Or at least a guy with my interests. Many of the male bloggers that I follow focus on writing/storytelling, which can appeal to a wide demographic. But if you're like me, posting about guns and military technology, your audience is going to be more focused.

unless you include kitties

Now, I have done some fiction writing posts, and I would (in theory) like to do more. But aside from the effort involved, I don't like to put my ideas out in the open until they are really well developed or are in some sort of format where they couldn't be stolen. I don't think I'm that creative, but I don't want to put out some half-baked (but good) idea where it can be scooped up by somebody else, thus terminating any opportunity for me to develop the idea to its full potential.

Some posts, (such as my posts regarding the latest additions to the Star Wars franchise) are pretty popular. But these are examples of content that are universally appealing because of the large number of fans out there and the general hype induced by each release. The rest of my blog doesn't necessarily come into play for this kind of interest, just the fact that I'm posting about something that everybody is super excited for during a short period of time.

So, as I said before, the rest of my posts are generally only going to interest a smaller group of people. I would like more readers, but by no means do I want to change my posts in the sense of not posting about things I love and care about. If people only liked to read posts about bananas, then I would do one of three things:

1.Post whatever I want, ignoring the banana craze

2. Post about something I do care about, but with a banana reference of some sort.

3. Or quit blogging altogether.

I blog for fun, so if I only blogged about what other people cared to read, not what I care to write, then there would be no point, because I wouldn't have any fun. But knowing that other people read what you write can be part of the fun factor, so it depends.

Ok, so to the actual point. How can I make my blog better? What do you think of my theme/brand? Which posts are my best/most interesting? Which ones are boring? Should there be more crossover between my blog and YouTube channel or should they remain very separated entities?

And just to sum it up and make it clear, yes, I want more followers. But I appreciate my current following tremendously. Even if you don't read my posts, skim or skip the boring ones, that's okay. If I'm showing up in your reading list, that still means a lot. It's not that particularly good, but it's still something.

So thank you. And I truly mean that, it's not just lip service.

P.S. If I tried podcasting, is that something you would be interested in?
I decided to add this picture of Mexican cops carrying M1911s just because I can and because it's awesome.
come to think of it, I should do more research on the drug war.

5.03.2018

A reaction post

My reaction to the fact that a Star Wars Battlefront III is in development:







To the banning of Pepe Le Pew cartoons:






When I see people wearing their pajamas in public:

you bring shame to our nation

Almost, (almost) everything that Trump says:

Muricaaa

Your reaction to this post:


5.01.2018

One of the best video games I've ever played!

I told you I was going to do more Halo posts!




Halo 3: ODST is one of my favorite Halo games. It's close contender would be Halo: Reach, which I plan to do a review on in the future as well.

 ODST, unlike the main Halo titles, doesn't focus on the storyline of the Master Chief. Instead it focuses on a squad of ODST (Orbital Drop Shock Troopers) who are deployed to the city of New Mombasa, Kenya, to wrest it from the grasp of the alien alliance called the Covenant.

Games like this appeal to me more than the games that focus on the Master Chief, because I've always been a war buff, and ODST is very "tactical". Instead of being a superhuman, you're playing as an operator in a specialized combat unit.

The graphics are excellent in my opinion, even despite showing their age. ODST has a great feel to it, and games like this prove that immersion goes way beyond the visuals. To create a truly immersive game, you need to have a masterful array of music, sound effects, dialogue, and solid gameplay, and I believe that ODST delivers on all these marks.





New Mombasa is a pretty interesting city, which is a good thing because all of the game's events take place in it. ODST has a non-linear campaign, which in my opinion, is ingenious in its execution. Even though I did find it somewhat confusing. I don't want to bog down this post by explaining my own mishaps, but here is how it works:

You start the game as "Rookie" a ODST who is an actual canon character in Halo, but his face isn't shown and he has no dialogue because he is essentially "you" as you play the game. The city is somewhat like an open world and you stroll around, killing or avoiding Covenant and following beacons to specific points in the city. The problem I had is that I thought I was looking for literal beacons, as in some sort of transponder lying on the ground.


Instead, what I was supposed to look for was objects in the general area indicated by the beacon. My misunderstanding of this concept caused me to waste considerable time, to say the least.

I started getting a little frustrated, but not too much. It was my fault, after all

Now back to the actual review.

When you locate the objects indicated by the beacons, you start one of the missions where you take control of one of the other characters in the squad, usually at a different time and location. I thought this was really cool because you get to play as each interesting character, not just the Rookie.

The soundtrack is one of THE BEST in my opinion, with some awesome saxophone that really complements the African city and contributes to a very lonely, ominous sort of mood, adding wonderfully to the overall experience.

ODST is not a horror game by any means, but it scared me a little, in a good way. The streets are super dark, police cars and barricades are scattered around, lights flashing, and sirens blooping. Add to it the fact that you are in enemy territory occupied by vicious aliens, and the experience is downright eerie.



Typical ODST awesomeness




Typical of classic Halo, the gameplay is super fun. The AI are intelligent, and the enemies all vary in their weapon of choice, durability, and behavioral tendencies. The way you engage them is important, requiring creativity and technique, not just trigger-pulling.

Hunters, for example, are large, armored aliens that are easily one of the most difficult opponents in the game. But instead of just requiring a lot more bullets to kill, (you can shoot at a Hunter indefinitely with a rifle if your not aiming at a weak spot) you have to get the right angles, and exploit their weaknesses.





Granted, you can just blow them away with a rocket launcher or a Scorpion tank, but sometimes that option is out of stock.

Hunters are always deployed in pairs. Twice the fun, right?

So there are some of the many reasons for ODST being one of my top favorite games. From gameplay to story, it's a well-rounded barrel of fun. It's also backwards compatible, so you can play it on the Xbox One as well as the Xbox 360 it was originally released on. So there's another bonus.

And there ends my review. Now just go and play it!


Also, if you have any specific questions regarding the content or any other aspects of the game, feel free to leave a comment and I'll do my best to answer it.

That's all for now! Remember Reach and watch your ammo!

4.19.2018

Nerf gun mod

Not very long ago, I purchased a Nerf gun in hopes of having some fun battles with my friends. This didn't really materialize however, and the particular gun I bought would be of little use in any serious dart-fight.

I have been familiar with Nerf for years, but this was the first gun I had ever bought in a long time.



Introducing the "Nerf N-Strike Elite Accustrike Series Falconfire". Gotta love the stupid names. 
Anyways, the problem with this gun was the fact that it is a single-shot where each dart has to be loaded through the top individually. I thought this was cool at first (seemed like a good idea at the time) but I quickly realized this would make it near-useless in a nerf war.


I held onto it for a long time until I came up with the great idea of modifying it. I can't remember which idea came first: adding weight to it, or painting it. Might have been both at the same time. But anyways, I took this fanciful-looking white and orange blaster and turned it into this bad boy right here:

Now before we continue, I will say this: the gun is not yet finished. Just recently I dry-brushed some silver paint onto it to create a worn-metal look. I did this for fun, as I still need to apply a second coat, and therefore all of my dry-brushing work will have to be redone. But the point is that it won't stay as a matte-black gun, I hope to get it to the point where it "pops" so to speak, and catches the eye.


Besides the obvious paint job however, I sawed off part of the barrel with a small dremel tool, and I sawed off most of the spare dart rack on the bottom, and I roughly sanded away the Nerf logos and warnings on the side. Including the one that so clearly states NOT to modify the blaster.


I drilled some holes into some 3x2 Lego blocks in order to create the muzzle brake, and I inserted that into the barrel shroud and filled in the empty areas using modelling putty. This area is very rough as is evident from the below picture, but I wasn't aiming for perfection.
Lego muzzle brake detail

I also disassembled the blaster and inserted some metal weights into the interior in order to give it a more realistic weight. I wanted the weights to be snug and secure, but unfortunately, one of them shifts around, creating an annoying sound and sensation when the gun is handled. 

After this gun is completely finished, I'll plan on an update post. Modding Nerf guns is a very cool hobby that I have recently become interested in. It may be a fad, but I hope to do more projects like this in the future. Thanks to a friend who sent me a link to a nerf mod website, I have been researching nerf modding and I have found lots of great inspiration such as this awesome mod:


modded longshot



So hopefully there shall be more to come.

4.03.2018

Halo 5, Destiny, and I moved btw

Okay, so a lot has been happening these past few weeks, and I'm here to fill you in. My family and I recently moved to a new area, which has been rather exciting but of course exhausting in execution. Thankfully, all of that is largely behind us and we are now back to a near-normal routine.

Today I'm just going to review two video games. I was going to do some movie reviews, but I decided that that would be too much work and that I better just publish this post instead of wearing myself out by trying to make it longer. 


Halo 5: Guardians


I have been playing this game for several months now, and in my own humble opinion, I've gotten darn good at it. I have been familiar with the Halo franchise for many years, but since I never had a Xbox console up until this past year, I never got a chance to try any of the games.

Also, most of the games were rated "M" (something I usually steer clear of) and H5's "T" rating and positive content reviews prompted me to try out H5 for free on Xbox Game Pass. And on closer inspection, I discovered that several of the "M"-rated Halo games weren't as bad as the rating "M" usually implies, which has led me to further explore the other titles.

But weren't not discussing all that right now, so let's get on with the game. 

I started off playing the campaign, and I really loved how immersive the story was and I liked the array of characters. I have always liked story-driven campaigns, and Halo 5 has a very cinematic feel to it with stunning cutscene animation. 
Looks like a movie, right?


After that, I eventually went down the deep dark hole from-which-there-is-no-return called multiplayer, and played that constantly. Not constantly as in 24/7, but constantly in the sense that it was the only game I played whenever I was doing my game time.

Halo 5 has a very different style of gameplay compared to the earlier titles, featuring ADS (Aim Down Sights) clambering, sprinting, and different abilities not present in the other games. This means H5 has a much more frantic style of play.

This has caused a lot of old-time fans to complain vehemently, but I (a newcomer to the franchise) fell in the love with game, without any bias towards the older games which I had not played at that point.

Since then, I have played some of the older games and I get the point made by long-time fans. I find the older style of play actually more fun in a lot of ways, but that doesn't make H5 a piece of garbage. I don't think H5 should be ripped from stem to stern just because it's different. Obviously, it was made to stay up to date with its contemporaries, and so it should be no surprise that it plays differently from the older Xbox 360 games.

But anyways, I'm pretty much fully into the fandom now, so brace yourselves for more Halo-related posts in the future. I'll try not to be too obnoxious.

And here are some gifs of some cool moments I've had on multiplayer:
In this situation I snuck up on an opponent using a sniper rifle, asassinated him, picked up the rifle and sniped his buddy who was moving up ahead. Probably the coolest thing I've ever done in H5. 


The asassination animations can be violent, but they are extremely cool. Especially when you sneak up on someone that is wielding an energy sword which is a one-hit weapon that is extremely deadly in close quarters.





Destiny 




I got this game from the library and I was able to try it for a few days. I had heard of Destiny before, but I hadn't looked into it super deeply. Destiny is a sci-fi that is a lot different than Halo in its style. Instead of a military, soldiers/aliens story with some mumbo-jumbo/pseudo spirituality thrown in, Destiny is more of a mumbo-jumbo-ish/pseudo-spiritual story that happens to feature realistic guns and post-apoc cues along with it's more fantastical environment and satanic enemies.


Players don't have to directly interact, but they usually fight enemies together and cross paths as they pursue their individual objectives


The graphics were very impressive, and the post-apocalyptic Russian environment that the player starts off in really appeals to me. Unlike Halo which has a fairly simple ranking and customization system, Destiny seemed really complicated to me, with all sorts of upgrades, abilities, and cosmetic upgrades that also crossed over to your armor and stuff like that. You could assign special abilities like grenade throwing or knife throwing to a slot that is activated by a specific control. And then you could upgrade these abilities or choose another one or whatever. There was even some upgrades which would speed up your reloading time for certain weapons. 

So if you like RPGs, you would probably love it, but if you're more like me, you'll find it unnecessarily complicated.


An example of the game's awesome design work

The combat was well put together, and the game environments were cool, with somewhat of a open-world feel. The missions aren't scripted with lots of dialogue and characters, because you get to customize your own avatar, and things have to be generic in order for you to have that level of customization. The avatar customization was cool in its premise, but I felt like it lacked a lot of options, such as the ability to add facial hair to a male character and poor hair style selections. 


I don't plan on buying the game, even though I think it has a lot of things going for it. I decided I didn't like it because of the dark, undead/demonic fantasy vibe that I was getting from some of the levels. I'm a 17-year old guy, so that sounds ridiculous for a game that most people wouldn't think of as scary, but I just didn't like the game's enemies, which ranged from orc-like creatures (which I didn't really have a problem with) to more freaky enemies that felt more demonic/undead, and overall the game took up more of a Dungeons and Dragons sort of aesthetic instead of the more post-apoc/sci-fi feel that it started with.


So that's all for now. In the meantime,


Just dance!

3.17.2018

GHOST: A watercolor artwork

This is a watercolor I did pretty recently, I really love how it came out. I love doing posters (fake movie posters and album art, video game covers, or just artistic/cool ones).


I haven't seen the movie, but this was largely inspired by a still shot from the film Zero Dark Thirty depicting SeAL Team 6 on their famous mission to take down Osama Bin Laden. The SeALs used four-lens NVGs (Night Vision Goggles) which was a main point of inspiration because they're very cool and unique-looking.

I don't think they would glow green like that (unless perhaps, you were wearing goggles as well, and then maybe they would appear to glow) but that was mainly artistic license that I had no problem taking because it just looks great.

I mixed in a lot of purple/blue with the dark gray/black that makes up the "night" surrounding the operator. One of my favorite details is the Grim Reaper (complete with Scythe) looming out of the darkness in the upper right hand corner.
It's coming for you





2.21.2018

A short, short story

Once there was a guy named Curtis. He wrote a blog called Musings of a 21st Century 'Murican Mountain Man. He lived on a mountain in Tennessee, far away from anyone and anything. If he couldn't kill it and grill it, he got his groceries using a jetpack that he built in his shed. One day there was a lightning storm that knocked out his power, and it killed his computer. After a few jetpacking trips, he managed to get a new computer. But then it was his annual "go-primitive survival challenge" where he would go off into the woods for a month, wearing buckskins, a Bowie knife on his belt, and a coonskin cap. And moccasins, of course. He slept in trees and drank from the mountain streams and went on a 3-week pine bark cleanse.

And then he got back to his cabin, ninety-pounds of extra fat clinging to his bones, and a brace of rabbit furs slung over his shoulder.

Curtis got back to his computer and typed his post for his readers, apologizing for why his was gone so long, and explaining what he was doing in the meantime. And then he set about building a new desk chair, because the old one couldn't take the weight that he had gained very well, as he found out abruptly, as you would expect.


The End.