Late Night Thoughts: Vox Machina

Critical Role. Oh dear. What a great show. So much immersion, so much emotions, so much screaming. But what is it?

Critical Role is a show that is live streamed on Twitch that features voice actors playing Dungeon and Dragons for about 3 to 5 hours. They do it every Thursday night whenever most of them are available to play. Dungeon and Dragons, in simple terms, is a tabletop role-playing game that involves fantasy creatures and heroes and uses dice-rolling to resolve actions. If you’re a gamer like me, it would probably be more familiar if I say it resembles World of Warcraft. If you love movies/books, it might be similar to Lord of the Rings. Except all of these are done on paper and pen. With dice rolls and role-playing aspects. The game consists of the players and a Dungeon Master. The Dungeon Master or DM guides the story and controls what usually happens. The DM is not playing against the players. He/She merely facilitates the progress of the story.

The cast members of Critical Role are all voice actors or actors from a theater background or actors in general. They are Matthew Mercer (DM), Marisha Ray (Keyleth), Taliesin Jaffe (Percy), Laura Bailey (Vex), Travis Willingham (Grog), Ashley Johnson (Pike), Sam Riegel (Scanlan) and Liam O’Brien (Vax). They each play their own respective characters in brackets.

At this point of time I’m writing this, next Thursday’s episode could be the final episode for the current campaign. And I must say this show has given me something to look forward to every week…

I started watching these nerdy ass voice actors around June. I was just slowly getting interested in D&D when a friend of mine asked me if I was interested. I always heard of D&D before but never got the chance to try or play it. Nevertheless, I agreed and became more and more into it. I thought of making new and exciting characters and possible combat sequences. Eventually, I stumbled upon Critical Role on Geek and Sundry. And oh boy was it an amazing discovery.

Admittedly, I didn’t watch all of the episodes and only watched the recent ones. But every moment that I find on Youtube and every live episode that I was able to watch, I was so engrossed by it. The synergy, the companionship, the acting, the emotions, the thrill, the suspense, the family vibe. Everything, just everything about it. It was so good. And eventually, I was emotionally invested in it. And to think that next week is the final episode, I can’t bear my heart to it. Although they are starting a new campaign, I’m gonna miss the twins Vax and Vex, I’m gonna miss the awkward Keyleth and her friendship with Percy, I’m gonna miss the silly Grog and his antiques with Scanlan, I’m gonna miss Pike being a ‘mom’. I’m gonna miss so much about them. I wish everyday that Thursday would come sooner so I could watch them again.

What Vox Machina to me is that it represents family. Family doesn’t mean we all have the same personalities or bonded by blood. Family means even though we’re just a ragtag bunch of stupid people, we still love each other and will be there for each other no matter what. We’re all f-ed up in some way or another but that doesn’t mean we won’t support each other. And that’s what this bunch of nerdy ass voice actors and a nerdy ass game did to me. Having a family like them would be so awesome. Not to say that my current ones aren’t awesome but ya know, watching them interact makes me feel happy and miss my own families.

Honestly, I can’t express my feelings as to how Critical Role and Vox Machina changed my life. For better or for worse, it will always remain a special place in my heart. I don’t think most people will understand this blog post but whatever. You have to watch it to understand it. With that, is it Thursday yet? (P.S. it’s a special line that Matt says at the end of every episode)

 

~CYC

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Late Night Thoughts: Fear and Doubt

Lately, I’ve been going on a train of thoughts; mostly sadness, fear, anxiety and darkness. All the past memories that I used to shy away came back. They haunt me, they caused anxiety, they cause fear and all I did was to think about what happened in the past might happen now. All these experiences, they seem familiar to me. I can’t make it get out of my head. What if my so-called ‘friends’ were just using me. What if the ‘friends’ that I was close with were never close to begin with. What if I was just expecting too much. What ifs, What ifs, What ifs.

I cried, isolated myself and cried again. I don’t know what to feel. I doubt myself. Maybe I’m not good enough. That’s why I’m not included. That’s why people don’t like me. That’s why maybe life will never get better. That’s why maybe it’s better if I just leave this place and go back to where I belong. Because honestly, it’s so hard to live like this.

But… I am lucky enough to have friends who are there for me. To have family; whether it be at Brunei or at Melbourne or elsewhere. To have ‘brothers’. To have people who care and are happy that I’m there. To have anyone convince me that I’m good enough. This shit doesn’t come easy. When you were literally treated as a joke for almost the entirety of secondary school, you become more grateful of the people who will actually stand by and stand up for you. Sometimes, it feels unreal. Like being blessed by angels.

To the very close friends that understand what I’m talking about, you guys have heard of it many, countless times. So thank you for being patient. Thank you for listening to a whiny bitch. Thank you for never giving up on me. I will forever be glad and grateful. Because, honestly, I can’t see living my life without you guys. We may not talk much but as long as I know you guys are there, everything will be alright. Everything will be fine.

~CYC

Short Stories: Foreigner

‘I left everything to come here. All alone. With no one to help me. My hometown. My friends. My family. My comfort zone. My spoon-fed life. Going into the unknown. The darkness. The uncertainty. The unpredictability.  What if I’m never good enough? Maybe I won’t make any friends. Maybe I’ll be all alone. And in the end, I’ll be too foreign for home, too foreign for here. And I will never know how to place myself.’

~CYC

Late Night Thoughts: Truth

‘The truth isn’t the truth because someone said so. It is only the truth if you believe it to be so.’

This quote was just a thought I came across the other day. As far as I’m concerned, people with depression have a skewed perception of how they see the world. And to me, that shed a light on what constitutes ‘truth’ for a person.

When someone cries out for help, what they want isn’t words or phrases like ‘You’ll be okay.’, ‘Everything will be fine.’, ‘Just be happy.’ etc., what they want is affirmation of appreciation of them, the presence of their friends/family with them and that everything is not tbeir fault. Because the ‘truth’ that they see is different than the ‘truth’ we see. Because they don’t see a way out of this. Because in their mind, they know this is what they’re going to experience in the future. Because they don’t want to keep suffering like this. Because this is their last resort.

What they perceive as the ‘truth’ is different than what is the ‘truth’ for their friends. They will never be able to listen to what their friends say. And that’s how I came up with the idea of the quote. It applies to all situations. Some people might be adamant about something because they believe it is the truth even though others say differently.

In the end, changing how someone perceives things is a hard thing.to do. It starts with yourself. It starts with embracing the other ‘truths’ because there is no one single ‘truth’ that exists.

~CYC

Melodious Music: Taylor Swift – Red

Losing him/her was blue like I’d never known
Missing him/her was dark grey all alone
Forgetting him/her was like trying to know somebody you never met
But loving him/her was red
Loving him/her was red

Touching him/her was like realizing all you ever wanted was right there in front of you
Memorizing him/her was as easy as knowing all the words to your old favorite song
Fighting with him/her was like trying to solve a crossword and realizing there’s no right answer
Regretting him/her was like wishing you never found out that love could be that strong

Remembering him/her comes in flashbacks and echoes
Tell myself it’s time now, gotta let go
But moving on from him/her is impossible
When I still see it all in my head
Burning red
Burning it was red

I must admit I wasn’t quite a fan of this song until I heard a cover of this song. The original, fast pace beat didn’t quite match the lyrics in my opinion. That is why I find Tyler Ward’s version to be perfect with an acoustic guitar and slower beat. It perfectly describes the heartbroken person in a relationship. How forgetting someone is almost impossible. How trying to move on from a recent break up is impossible when the memories and flashbacks are still recent. How realizing that someone is all you ever wanted but it just could never work out. It really does suck to feel that way.

 

~CYC

In My Mind: Gifted Review

Back with another movie review here! This time with Gifted. Obvious spoilers ahead as usual. I’ll try to make it as concise as possible and not as long as Logan given the big wall of text to read.

 

 

To give off a little bit of detail of what the movie is about, Gifted tells a story about a man, Frank played by Chris Evans, who has taken the ‘father’ role of a young female prodigy named Mary. Frank is supposedly the uncle of Mary whose mother passed away when Mary was young. And the movie goes through the struggles of a parent whether to let Mary do what she loves or let her have a normal childhood.

The scene begins with Frank sending Mary off to a school after being home-schooled for the past few years. Their next door neighbour and bus driver, Roberta, tells Frank that this is a bad idea but Frank goes with the plan anyway. Mary reluctantly goes off to school and shows disinterest in class. She particularly gets displeased when the teacher, Bonnie Stevenson, asks a very simple math question to the class. As a result, Mary is asked by Bonnie to answer a few ‘complicated’ math questions for a 1st grade such as double digits multiplication. Bonnie thought she had proven a point to Mary but finds out that she actually is gifted. When Bonnie tries to confront with Frank, Frank denies any attempt of discussion about Mary being gifted.

In the downtime, Bonnie tries to search up any information about the Adler family. She manages to find that Frank was a lecturer on Philosophy and Diane, his sister and Mary’s mom, was a math prodigy who came close to solving one of the Millenium Prize Problems. Later that night, Bonnie confronts Frank at a bar, a place he usually goes every week. She then confirms the fact that Mary is a child genius with Frank while he expresses his fear that Mary would turn out like Diane and ruin her life.

The next day, Mary got into a fight with a boy from her class and Frank is called in to the principal’s office. On the verge of being suspended, the principal offers a scholarship to Mary to enter a school for the gifted with the help of Bonnie. Frank declines, stating that she deserves to have a normal childhood. With that, the principal decides to contact the grandmother, Evelyn. She comes to Frank’s house and prepared gifts for Mary such as a Macbook and some books regarding Math theories and problems. Mary instantly gets interested into them and start reading.

Frank offers to talk to Evelyn at a private place and proceed to argue about the future of Mary. Frank wants her to have a happy and normal childhood while Evelyn hopes she could surpass Diane and maximise her potential. They both stand firm with their decisions which results in Evelyn seeking to gain custody.

Now, here comes one of my favourite scenes in the movie, where Frank brings Mary to the beach and talk about life in general. One quote from Frank sticked with me most: ‘Faith is good to have but it is about what you feel and think, not what you know.’ It was a great line that stroked deeply within my heart.

Along the custody battle, we find out the identity of Mary’s father who said that he always wanted to see Mary but lied about it. Mary gets emotionally upset about it and Frank decides to show her the moment she was born in a hospital. Mary also mentions that she wants to stay with Frank because he wanted her before she was smart. And that’s another one liner which also stroke deeply within my heart. The custody battle gets really furious and intense which made both parties to think that they will lose. Frank’s lawyer proposes a compromises where she will live in a foster home which is 15 minutes away from Frank and get to study in a college. Mary will be able to decide where she lives when she reaches 12 years old. Frank reluctantly agrees.

Mary feels upset and disappointed because Frank said they will be together until the end. Frank leaves Mary and her cat, Fred over at the foster home with a bittersweet goodbye. Later that night, Bonnie tries to comfort him but Frank just leaves. The next day, Frank tries to deliver gifts for Mary but was politely told to leave because Mary doesn’t want to see him.

A few days later, Bonnie sees an advertisment for adoption of a cat that seems to look like Fred. She sends the message to Frank. Being surprised, Frank rushes to the pet adoption centre where he was told that someone was allergic to the cat and it was about to be euthanised. This means that Evelyn is at the foster home. Frank rushes home to grab a folder and tells Roberta to tag along. They barge into the room as what seems to be a math tutorial for Mary. Frank tells Mary that she’s coming back home but she runs away in which Frank responds by throwing the folder onto the desk and chases after Mary. Evelyn tries to give chase but is blocked off by Roberta. Roberta says that it is more important that she sees the folder.

Frank caught up to Mary and realizes that he means a lot to her and that he left her at the foster home because he was scared of ruining her life. Mary said that he didn’t and that’s he’s the best ‘father’ she’ll ever have. They rejoice, hug each other and went back into the room. Roberta takes Mary back into the car and Frank confronts Evelyn. He reveals that Diane had completed the Problem but didn’t want to reveal it until the death of Evelyn. With the choice of earning the honor or nurturing Mary, Evelyn decides to let the world know the problem was solved as she breaks down. In the end, it can be seen that Mary attends college lessons in the afternoon and goes back to the playground, looking happily as ever while pursuing her passion.

Overall, this movie was a great drama. Plot was decent. However, some parts didn’t make sense; the whole hospital scene of showing the birth of babies and the undeniably questionable use of the ‘Diane solved the problem but decide not to reveal’. I mean it didn’t make sense for the former and why didn’t Frank use it in the first place for the latter. Chris Evans did a great job portraying the father and Mckenna Grace was fantastic. Either way, it was quite a tearjerker at least for me and definitely a movie worth watching. It won’t waste your time.

Honestly, I believe that parents should let children decided what they want to do but with rules added to them. Restricting or forcing them to do follow one thing is a bad idea. I would definitely agree with Frank’s philosophy there. Let a child have a normal childhood. That’s what they should be. Happily growing up, having friends and just messing around. If I had a child, I would definitely let him/her have a proper childhood.

‘He wanted me before I was smart’ – Mary.

~CYC

Short Story: Two Doors

As I was having a casual hike in the forest, I noticed an old rugged house, as if it was built in the 1910s; just before WW1. It seemed awry yet fascinating. The wooden house looks rusty but yet the surroundings barely have any weed around it. There were rumours from other hikers that this forest contained mystical powers. And one of them was this wooden house. It has been said to enlighten and change one’s life forever once he/she enters the house. It would dictate the future.

As I opened the door, I heard creaks as one would assume from an old house. The house seemingly looks empty. No furniture, no doors and no windows. ‘Was this a joke?’ I thought to myself. I decided to step in anyway. As soon as I stepped in, it felt like I was being sucked into a different dimension.

I arrived into this white background and was greeted by a familiar figure. It was myself. A full replica of me. He said ‘Hello there!’. ‘Welcome to the Paths of Future. I am you and you are me. I exist in the alternate dimension. Essentially, there are 2 of us in 2 different dimensions. Anyway, behind me, there are 2 doors and each door will dictate the future that you will have. You cannot leave until you choose a door.’

He explained that 1 door leads to a successful career. A good pay that will grant me all the luxuries in life especially those gaming equipments I’ve always wanted. It was always my dream to have a successful career and have a passion for gaming. However, this comes at the cost of good health and not having enough time for loved ones. The other door leads to good health and having loved ones by your side everytime. Getting to know them and just hanging around. However, you would get a below average job; not being able to pursue your ideal career and probably wouldn’t get my beloved games because the pay would just barely get me by.

I was told to make a choice. Both are equally tempting with both having their own costs. I struggled to choose what I want. I wanted good health, having loved ones by my side and having a successful career as well. After a long debate in my head, I’ve decided.

‘Neither door will suffice.’ The alternate ‘me’ said ‘What? You have to choose between these two.’ ‘I don’t. Why do I have to sacrifice something I love to get something I love? I know I’m not the type of person to do that. That’s why I’ll choose the other door. The door of compromise. I will make my future work by my hands no matter how hard it is. Whether it is achievable or not, I don’t care because at least I knew I tried to make it work.’

The replica smirked at me and said ‘Heh. Now that’s the true answer I’m looking for. You’ve always knew that in your heart. You may leave.’ As I get sucked back into my own world, I arrive at the starting point of the hike. With a new found resolution, I looked up to the clear sky and tell myself that nothing is too hard so long as you put your mind into it. While I might not get the optimal outcome for both situations, at least I got a little bit of both.

This story is loosely inspired by the movie ‘Gifted’. I will be doing a movie review on it soon so make sure to keep an eye for that. Thanks!

~CYC