Tuesday, August 23, 2005

First day at school

Well school has started. I have been to my first class. I have another at 3:00. I was thinking of going to Wal Mart but I'm not sure I would make it back in time. It takes a while to get down there. Maybe tomorrow, after work.

My first class was chemistry. It was mostly the same old first day stuff, go over the syllabus, start the first lesson with the extra time, etc. Thursday is the lab so I have to make sure to bring my goggles. The teacher (Dr. Olga Fryszman) is really nice. It looks like I need to just use a scientific calculator, though, so my nice blue TI-83 (a graphing calculator) will likely be sitting at home this semester. There is one at home I could borrow (it was Mom's) or I can buy one most likely (it's cheaper than a graphing calculator).

I will probably go to orientation today for CIS 105 to get that out of the way...heck what else do I have to do?

The other day I bought the GBA game Kim Possible 2: Draaken's Demise. Somehow, I got to the third level. Like my Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon GBA game, it involves a lot of jumping, attacking enemies, and special moves. At least they show you within the game how to do the special moves, and they have a "training" part of the game for the basic moves. The easiest way to die in Kim Possible 2 is to miss a jump or, more often, from spikes or other traps or from missing with the grapple gun. Actually, missing a jump to a flagpole swing is pretty common too. The worst is when you have to do a combo, like in level 3 where you have to flagpole and grapple across an acid lake. Actually there is something like that in level 2 also, where you have to flagpole to some ledges, jump up the ledges, then grapple.

Actually Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon is harder because it's almost all jumping, and jumping is hard. The wall jumps in this one level are hard to do...half the time you fall back down. Also in one level there are poison bats that poison you so you lose health, and the only way to get rid of it is either to wait for it to go away (I think it does eventually) or wait till your chi gauge reaches max and press L to use the "Chi Recovery" move. You don't gain back health, but at least the poison goes away.

I have taken a break from Tales of Symphonia and have been trying to conquer Mt. Battle on Pokémon Colosseum. This is a great way to pass time in this game because the game itself (in story mode, anyway) is actually very short, judging from the player's guide. Most of the player's guide is the Pokédex and various battle rosters for Story and Battle Mode, including a 10-page foldout thing with a bunch of charts. Also Mt. Battle is the only major battle area that allows you to use Shadow Pokémon (I think the Pre-Gym in Phenac might too...I don't remember), so it's a good place to use them in battle so you can empty their Heart Gauges. The only problem is that things get tough for these Pokémon later on in Mt. Battle, since they don't actually gain levels till after they're purified, which puts them at a major level disavantage. I kept having to use Espeon and Umbreon all the time, since they were closer in level to my opponents (Espeon is at level 57 now, I think...and it learned the healing move Morning Sun, which helps a lot).

I also figured out a trick to cleansing Heart Gauges. Talk to this lady in Agate who is standing on a cliff in the Daycare/Pokémon Center area, after you save Mt. Battle (you may be able to do it earlier, but this is when I did it). She will give you a Cologne Case. You can then buy scents for it from the Poké Mart in Agate. They are Joy Scent, Excite Scent, and one other whose name I forgot. They are pretty inexpensive. The cheapest one, Joy Scent, is 600 Pokébucks I think. Then select items from the menu (press Y or X to bring it up, then go down to "Items") and select "Cologne Case" from the Key Items. A window will pop up asking which scent you want to use. Select the scent, then select the Pokémon in your party to use it on. Most of the time, if you use the scent, it will say something like "SETH massaged ESPEON with JOY SCENT." Then it will say "ESPEON was delighted" or something similar. But last night I tried using a Joy Scent on Hitmontop, one of my not-yet-purified Shadow Pokémon, and after it said "HITMONTOP was delighted" it said "Its heart opened a tiny bit!" or something like that. And sure enough it did, so I did it again, with the same result. Every little bit helps, after all.

Well there's not much else to say. Bye for now.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Literally on the brink of the end

Well after playing following my break last night, I am at the brink of the end. I could actually go fight Mithos right now if I wanted, but he'd probably pummel my party right now, plus a bunch of sidequests are now open, including the one where you visit Niflheim, the Underworld, a.k.a. "Forbidden Anamenesis." I'm going to try my luck there considering I printed out a guide just for it. I also want Amy to help me with the Uncle Game and Red Light/Green Light since I've been doing really badly at those sidequests. I'll x out the maid costume sidequests since Zelos is gone...that's the only Zelos-required sidequest I didn't do (well, one online walkthrough said you need Zelos for that, but the player's guide doesn't). I am going to try my luck at the Meltokio Coliseum too, again. Maybe try to get the larger Sewer Rat on my Monster List. And I need to rebuild Luin to level 10 at least to complete the "Lousy Impostors" sidequest and earn Colette's "Dog Lover" title. Plus I need to do all the "after finding Derris Emblem" sidequests, including fighting the last Summon Spirit, Maxwell.

Since I did costume change quests, now pretty much everyone has some kind of costume that they are seen in during battle. Right now I have Lloyd and Genis in formal clothes, Raine in her Shrine Maiden outfit, and Sheena in her "Next Chief of Mizuho" outfit. Plus Regal, Presea, and Colette got formal outfits, and Raine, Genis, Colette and Lloyd got swimsuits. Presea also has a Klonoa outfit (named for a video game character from another series of games by Namco, the Klonoa series). The original Klonoa looked like this:

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Anyway that's really all. Later.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

The end is in sight

Well, after playing practically nonstop from around 6 p.m. to around 2 a.m., I got really far in Tales of Symphonia last night. I am already near the end, especially after playing for another several hours today. I must confess that game is really addicting. There are so many side quests to do at the end for one thing. Some of them are hard to do too. I couldn't find the maids to talk to in Meltokio in order to get Colette's maid costume.


Earlier I knew the doctor event in Flanoir was coming up, when you must choose whether to keep Zelos in your party or have Kratos join instead. After having him in my party at the Iselia Human Ranch, I realized I should have Kratos instead of Zelos in the end, because Kratos is almost obscenely more powerful, since stupid Zelos didn't learn his Techs like I told him to. So when the time came, I rejected the first three people who came knocking (but it was Genis, Colette, and Presea, so I didn't even have a chance to worry about Zelos) and sure enough, Kratos appeared and a nice scene unfolded.

The thing that stinks about choosing Kratos over Zelos is that then when you enter the Tower of Salvation in Tethe'alla later on, instead of facing the Gatekeeper, who is of a more manageable HP level, Zelos betrays you, hands off Colette to Pronyma, and after a lengthy scene that mimics the one where Kratos betrays you in Sylvarant's Tower of Salvation (which, coinicidentially, when abbreviated, spells "T.O.S.", which is also the initials of the name of the game -- "Tales of Symphonia." I just thought of that), he challenges you to a fight, and he has a lot of HP and some pretty scary Techs. But they're not too scary because they are almost the same as Kratos's Techs, so you know what to expect.

The rest is pretty aggravating, even though a dying Zelos gives you some direction as to where to find Colette. Having to go through the anti-gravity rooms in the Tower of Salvation the first time around was bad enough. This time you have to go through the ruins of the tower, and along the way you lose every single person in your party, so that by the time you reach Yggdrasill, it's just Lloyd. Fortunately, Namco is nice enough to bring everyone (including Raine, who I was almost certain was going to die) back to help you. A long scene follows, with Martel's consciousness speaking through Colette's body and pleading with Mithos/Yggdrasill (oh yeah...they're the same person, and the same seemingly harmless half-elf boy that was Genis's friend...jerk!) to stop what he is doing. Yggdrasill makes you fight Pronyma again. She's not alone as she was way back on the Fooji Mountains (she's got two sidekicks, "Iduns,") and she has wayyyy more powerful Techs, like Prism Sword. The trick is to treat her like the seal guardians and other bosses with sidekicks. Take out the sidekicks first, using Lloyd and another melee fighter (I used Sheena, so I could summon Luna if needed to prey on light-weak Pronyma, but the chance didn't come up), then target Pronyma, who should be fairly weak if Genis has been doing his job right (even though Pronyma is strong versus dark, Genis's spells still work all right).

If you beat Pronyma, the game continues, and after Martel (through Colette) tries to get through to Yggdrasill, who switches from Yggdrasill to Mithos, he refuses to listen to her. Colette regains control of herself and warns the party to be cautious. Mithos transforms back into Yggdrasill and challenges the party. This time he has to be defeated for the game to continue, and with 40,000 HP and very powerful Techs, it's no easy task. I'm surprised I did it in one try.

After this, you have to leave the Tower (I got a bit lost trying to warp to the exit, which turned out to be right near the door I exited Yggdrasill's area from...heh heh oops). Travel to Heimdall (quick jump from Ymir Forest) because guess what, you have to fight Kratos to unseal Origin and get the Eternal Sword so you have a chance at saving the world. And Kratos and Origin are in Torent Forest, which can be accessed only from Heimdall. But there's one slight snag in making the decision to do this...well, two actually. One, the seal of Origin is more or less mana linked to Kratos, meaning he could die if you unseal it. Second, and this was the big surprise of the game....KRATOS IS LLOYD'S FATHER!!!!! Unbelievable, but true. So that makes it hard to risk his death, doesn't it?

The good news is that the Elder allows you to bring Genis and Raine along (you couldn't in previous visits to Heimdall because they're half-elves, and half-elves can't come into the hidden elven village) on the condition that they don't use any of Heimdall's facilities. Which means what, I don't know. Talk to the characters around the village (I think I got everyone except Sheena...I couldn't find her) and then finally talk to Colette in front of the inn to rest for the night. Then talk to the Elder in the morning and enter the forest. After wandering around like mad and chasing a cat-like creature out of stumps with the Sorcerer's Ring, I found the deepest part of the forest, and thus, Kratos. Lloyd must fight him alone, but hey at least you can use items (thank goodness!!). There is a letterboxed short cutscene right as the fight starts, which is kind of cool. Kratos is hard at this point but not unbeatable. He only has 12,000 HP for this duel, which makes him like a early-game boss compared to previous fights with him. Lloyd should have pretty good Techs by now anyway, and when I did it today, Lloyd was in his late 60's in level.

If you beat Kratos (well, okay, you have to beat him), a cutscene follows where he releases the seal of Origin, only to collapse. Fortunately, the ever-useful Yuan comes to the rescue and revives Kratos by transferring some of his own mana into Kratos's body. Kratos, in a weak voice, says that now he's been cheated out of dying again. Lloyd embarks on a long speech about how everyone has a right to live. Oh yeah, Origin has showed up by now. He's a big buff guy with four arms. He talks about how he's lost faith in things and refuses to make a pact with Sheena (huh...sounds like an earlier pact scene...oh yeah, the one with Volt) but Sheena and Lloyd persuade him to make a pact. Defeat him to gain the Diamond and the Tech "Summon: Origin" for Sheena.

After this, there's a cutscene of Mithos trying to posess Lloyd from the Cruxis Crystal Genis picked up in the Tower of Salvation. Uh, big mistake, Genis. Lloyd resists. Then one of your best friends will block Mithos's attack, your top one. For me, it was Colette. Mithos possessed her body and took her away. A even nicer (art wise...but sadly not anime) cutscene follows, where Heimdall gets smashed to bits by the Tower of Salvation collapsing. Oy, stupid Mithos!! Anyway, after rescuing everybody, I flew back to Dirk's House to forge the Ring of the Pact in lieu of Altessa doing it, since he's injured thanks to stupid Mithos. Dirk does it, using the materials Kratos collected (NOW we know what he was looking for while wandering around Tethe'alla). I got the Material Blade and the Eternal Ring. The Eternal Ring will help me wield the Eternal Sword, I think...

Now I have to find the Tower of Salvation in order to continue. But you can't see it on the horizon near Ozette anymore, so it's hard to find. I guess I'll have to land near its former location and hope I see it from the ground.

This game gets more and more complex all the time.


On other notes, school starts next week, and I go back to part-time work, which I think I will prefer. This Tuesday I'm going to hang out with Amy, conditions permitting. Which reminds me, today's her birthday...should I call her? Yeah, probably. I wonder if her birthday card got there in time. I mailed b-day cards to her and Kevin at the latest possible moment (Friday afternoon) to make sure they'd be on time. I didn't get gifts cause I didn't know what to get as gifts, especially for Kevin, and it wouldn't be fair for him to just get a card and Amy get a present and a card, although Kevin's so young that he probably wouldn't care. I almost bought Amy a book on Salvador Dalí at the Crown Books Liquidation Center, but I wasn't sure if she was still into him.

That's all.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Should I get my A.A.?

I was thinking just now about school. Instead of transferring, I could get my A.A. and graduate, and then at least I'd have a degree, of a sort. Then I wouldn't be under pressure to choose a school to transfer to.

What am I saying? If I defer my education, I'll end up like my mom, going back to school after having a family (same with Amy). I want to get through school, travel, build a life for myself, and then settle down.

Oh God...I don't know what to do. Why won't you answer my prayers for guidance?! Couldn't you at least give me a clue as to what to do with my education? Or have I misstepped your guidance already by going to a secular school? Believe me, if I could've afforded it, I would've gone straight to Biola like I'd planned, and spend those two "formative years" (freshman and sophomore year) at university, like Dr. Dobson said to do (in Life on the Edge). But school costs money, and even community college isn't cheap.

I wonder if I have too high expectations for myself. Somehow I see how my mother chose to do her higher education -- going back to school after having 2 kids, finishing her degree over a 2-year period of a degree completion program, and then doing her master's -- as beneath me, which is wicked. I want to be different from her. I want to be done with college and stuff before I marry, like Papa did. Is that so bad, though...? I don't know...

I don't want to be a peacock, all prideful and all. "Pride goeth before a fall," as the Proverbs say. But I guess I am a haughty person. A haughty, indecisive, too talkative person. A worrywart to boot, which a on-fire Christian shouldn't be. Jesus said not to worry.

I guess, in Christianity, it doesn't matter what a Christian should and shouldn't be or say or do. We are all sinners, after all, and "have fallen short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23). Grace is the epitome of all that Christianity stands on.

Oh, I'm so confused...I can't write about this anymore or I'll make myself depressed.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Best friends

I got together with Amy, my best friend, today. I hadn't seen her in almost a year, until a few weeks ago when she, Jesse, Kevin, and one of Amy's friends dropped by the store. On Sunday I called her up and asked her if she wanted to get together today, since I had the day off from work. We did get together, at my house. She brought Kevin, her little boy, along. He was kind of fussy most of the time.

I went to the bank this morning to deposit my check, then rode the bus over to Wal-Mart. There I bought a new portable CD player, a copy of People, and three binders for school. Then I rode back to the bus station, but I missed the FAST Bus. So Amy picked me up instead of making me wait an hour for the next bus. We got Burger King and then went to my house and had lunch there. We watched the Mihoshi Special/Pretty Sammy OAV DVD that I had for a while until Kevin got fussy, after which we went in the jacuzzi. Kevin loved the jacuzzi, which of course is like a huge bathtub to a almost 2-year-old. Then after a while we went back in and she showed me her improved final exam for IMT 125, the class we took together during the summer. Then she wanted to see my video games, since I showed her a picture I put on my final site of Ritz from Final Fantasy Tactics Advance. I showed her FFTA and one of the GBA Videos. Then I brought down my Game Cube, and after we figured out it wouldn't work on the big TV, I had to bring my little 13" TV downstairs. I showed her Pokémon Colosseum first, since that was in the Game Cube from me playing it this morning. (Oh, by the way, I finally did capture Entei. I've captured Suicune now too. My next destination is to fight in the Under Colosseum, but the Pokémon there whooped my butts so I am fighting on Mt. Battle now to purify Flaffy, since a lot of the Pokémon in the Under Colosseum are weak to electric attacks). Then I showed her Tales of Symphonia, which then occupied us for several hours. She helped me smash the Bacura (which was taking me forever) and also navigate the pitch dark rooms and a bunch more obstacles in the Temple of Lightning. The hard part was the fight to make the pact with Volt. I tried a couple times, then during the third time Kevin accidentially stepped on the TV cord, making it fall out of the socket, ruining that. So I had to try again, and barely won. I had run out of gels by then and was hanging on for dear life. Thank God I brought along so many Life Bottles. Then there was an interesting cutscene about the mana being severed between the two worlds, because Summon Spirits of Tethe'alla and Sylvarant are now awake at the same time, which has never happened before, as Undine explains it. Due to this, the worlds will eventually separate, which suggests that they will no longer have to struggle with each other for mana, which solves the problem Lloyd and co. went out to solve in the first place. The reason, I think, that both world's spirits are awakened is because the Chosen (Colette) did not become an angel, but just lost her soul in the Tower of Salvation, which means the mana flow wasn't really reversed. I guess. I don't know. Anyway...oh yeah after the Toize Valley Mine, where the Bacura was smashed, I obtained the Inhibitor Ore to make a Key Crest for Presea. Unfortunately when I returned to Ozette, Presea helped Rodyle capture Colette, since she was under his control. But after Lloyd attaches the Key Crest to Presea, she returns to normal and regrets Colette's capture and her own father's death. Then I quick jumped to Mizuho where I learned that I had to go to the Temple of Lightning to make a pact with Volt, so his mana could power the Rheiards. It turns out Sheena tried this before but failed, which is why the chief of Mizuho is unconscious. But she agrees to it anyway.

Now to get the Rheiards I have to defeat the

Amy was totally into the game and wants to come over again to play it, or watch me play at least. I'm looking forward to getting together again.