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)




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.


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 do. It starts with yourself. It starts with embracing the other ‘truths’ because there is no one single ‘truth’ that exists.


Late Night Thoughts: Homesick

When you first go to another country to study, you feel excited and enthusiastic. You can’t wait for a new environment; you’re tired of seeing the same people and same places. You want to experience something new. You finally get independence. You’re all on your own. You can do whatever you want.

But then you realize, ‘Oh, I don’t really know anybody. How am I going to make friends? Well, I just have to try.’ Then you try your best to approach people but most of them have their own clique. And you wonder, ‘This is going to be hard.’

As days pass, you realize this is harder than you thought. Things don’t go as plan. You barely know how to cook. Appliances go haywire. Daily necessities become a chore. Trying to save up money. Dealing with studies. Everything just became much harder. You want somebody to talk to. But all your good friends and family are far away. Contacting them is hard. Even with video calls, you just feel it’s not enough. You just want to see them. You start to reminisce the times you were at a party, doing stupid stuff and having fun. All the memories that you made. All of these come crashing down in moments. You just want to get back home. You just want to go to that airline website and book a ticket. But you know you can’t. The hopelessness. And then you cry by yourself in the lonely night.

Day 30. You know that sobbing isn’t going to help. You realize that you have to be strong, for your family and friends. To let them know you’re doing well. To not let them know that you’re not doing fine. To not let them worry about you. Everything seems to be going much better. You’re starting to live a much better life, blending in well with the new culture and new friends. You still miss the memories and the old life. You never forget them but you know, you have to move on and create new memories. Because in the end, you can always come back home; home to where you belong.


Late Night Thoughts: Kampung Spirit

The more I hang out with my friends in this small town of Brunei, the more ‘Kampung Spirit’ I have and the more I realize how important it is to me.

When you go and start living in a busy area such as Melbourne CBD or rural areas such as Ferntree Gully, Glen Waverley etc., you have limited places to chill and hang out. Sure, you could go to a cafe to hang out but honestly, the food and drinks are expensive. And the vibes are never the same. Maybe you have the option of going to a friend’s house and just chill. But how often do you get the chance to do that if everybody lives far away from each other, ranging from 10km to 100km.

Here in Kuala Belait, everything is within reach from 5 minutes to 10 minutes. Food and drinks are cheap. Going to a friend’s house doesn’t feel awkward and weird. Everything just feels nice. Wanna go out and have some noodles and tea? Only costs at max $5. Don’t feel like spending money? Come over to a friend’s house and just chill over some card games, board games or even just plain talking.

A few days ago, me and my friends went to a home-based cafe that has a live band on the weekends. For me, that was one of the most amazing nights I have felt. It felt better than watching fireworks at Docklands in Melbourne or even going to a festival. Just the atmosphere itself beats any other events. You can even go up and sing with the band, provided they know the chords to the song. Like, what kind of miracle do you have to get to experience that elsewhere? And did I mention it’s free? With drinks at $1 to $3 and food at $2 to $5.

In a way, this trip back home kind of further cemented the feeling of ‘chill’ that I want to live with. I just love this kind of lifestyle too much to give it all up. Who knows maybe I’ll find this kind of feeling in Melbourne and end up migrating there? But for now, I have no intention of leaving what has stuck with me throughout my life. The ‘Kampung Spirit’

Late Night Thoughts: Depression

‘I never liked you as a friend. ‘
‘You were never my priority.’
‘I don’t wanna be near with someone who is negative.’
‘You’re just a burden.’

Sometimes I want to be alone but not lonely. Emotions swing through the ends of both spectrum. I just want to have the presence of a good friend where even silence can make me feel better even though I keep rejecting someone’s offer to help.

Sometimes I feel like I care too much about something yet sometimes I feel like I don’t care about something at all.

Sometimes I struggle between telling the honest truth and keeping it to myself.

Sometimes I want people to just hug me and tell me ‘It’s going to be alright.’.

Sometimes I need a shoulder to cry on.

Sometimes I just need someone to listen to me.

Sometimes I just want to get rid of this feeling. This feeling of uncertainty. This feeling of swinging emotions. This feeling of tiredness. This feeling of worthlessness.

I want to feel good. I want to feel worthy. I want to feel loved.

I don’t want to feel bad. I don’t want to feel worthless. I don’t want to feel like everything I did was wrong.

These are the feelings of a person suffering from depression. Please be considerate to him/her and just know that it took them a lot of courage and trust to open up to people. They don’t speak of it to many people.


Late Night Thoughts: Lost Memories

‘If one day I lost my memories, how would you make me remember you?’

I came across this question on Facebook last year. I had formed some of my opinions around it at the time but nothing detailed or clear. Well, I figured it’s time to revisit this question!

Normally, you ask your friend this question and normally they will answer stuff like ‘Oh you were a funny person’, ‘You were a great person’, ‘You were kind’ etc. But that’s not the question is asking for. The question is asking for the memories between the person and his/her friend. The memorable moments and which characteristics of the friend makes him/her memorable are what the question is asking for. The question asks for the best moments with that person and their characteristics. In a way, it gives a sense of appreciation to the person who asked the question. It gives a reminder to the person who ask what he/she mean to their friends. In another sense, it could always be a bittersweet feeling, where you had amazing times with an ex-friend and it will never happen again. Nevertheless, it really gives you a great feeling, like serenity and tranquility.

My friends gave me answers and really, I was touched by it. And I was so touched by it that I saved a document with their answers on it. From time to time, I read them so I remember that there are people who care about me other than my parents and relatives. :’)

Readers who are sad or depressed, remember, there are people who care about you and are glad to have you in your life. Even though you may not believe it now, but it is true and it is a fact. 🙂