Dolly’s Blog

“What ever happened to Dolly’s blog?”

Good grief! There are still people around that remember that thing?!

I mean, just, wow. That was back in my LiveJournal days and I moved this blog off of there in 2004! I also moved Dolly’s blog to a WordPress site and basically it was never updated after that.

As disappointing as some people found it, though, the reason the blog was abandoned was simply that I got too busy. Writing snarky posts on a daily basis in the guise of my guide dog wasn’t nearly as amusing when I didn’t have acres of free time. That graduate thesis wasn’t going to write itself no matter how much I willed it to happen.

There is a bit of irony in the timing of this question, however, since I very recently contacted someone about possibly commissioning some artwork for I’m still not 100% what I plan to do with it, but no I will not be starting up another blog. I barely can manage to keep my own blog updated after all!

Oh, and before you ask, there is no archive of the blog. Any backup I had of it was eaten during the Great ‘Puter Crash of Aught Six and whatever was still online has long since been lost to the ether of the intarwebs.

Do you have a question for me? Comment below, email me, or utilize any of the social links to the right.

  1. Yes, I’ve kept the domain all these years. I’m rather attached to it since it was the first domain I ever owned.

Play More Dragon Quest!

“Are you still planning to play through the Dragon Quest games?”

Yes, I fully intend to continue the playthrough and I apologize for not being more forthcoming with why I stopped posting.

If you were following along you probably gathered that all the grinding in DQII was really a drag. Coupled with the ridiculously tedious task of organizing each post, I was more than a bit burnt out. I had intended to spend the majority of my dog-sitting time playing some catch up, but I ended up being a lot busier at Dad’s than I expected.

The main reason the project’s been on hiatus, though, is because the Tech-pocalypse1 has struck yet again and this time it seems focused on various game consoles. This is not only a huge money sink for me, but really sad and frustrating. Every time I’d shift my focus on to a different game to bide my time until a console was fixed and/or replaced, I’d end up with another randomly broken console. Rinse, repeat. I literally spent an entire month where I didn’t play anything because it was just that depressing for me.

Anyway, barring any unforeseen financial woes, I expect to finish the console replacement by the end of this month. I’m honestly really looking forward to getting back into this project; I’ve been itching for some DQ fun times.

Do you have a question for me? Comment below, email me, or utilize any of the social links to the right.

  1. The semi-annual thing where random electronics of mine all start inexplicably dying.

Funniest Moment

“What is the funniest thing your guide dog has done?”

Well, Uschi is a almost constantly hamming it up, so picking the funniest is pretty much impossible. She stands on her head for goodness sake!

However, I do have a humorous memory of Dolly.

As you all probably know I was in college during most of the time I worked with Dolly. Since I transferred so many times I ended up having to fulfill general education requirements twice and at some point I took a mandatory History class. Like most gen-ed classes it was large enough to be given in a lecture hall. By this point I’d been working a guide dog long enough to have come to the conclusion it was best to sit farther back in a classroom. People were less likely to trip over her if we weren’t in the major flow of traffic and often they wouldn’t notice her at all in the back of the room.1

It was early enough in the semester that I hadn’t yet had the chance to introduce myself to the professor. It could well have been the first day of class. In any case, on this particular day he was droning about something or other. I found my mind wasn’t quite on the lecture because I was watching him pace back and forth at the front of the classroom. Now and then he would stop and glance up at us. It wasn’t exactly odd so much as it made it difficult for me to focus on what he was saying.

Meanwhile, Dolly was sprawled out at my feet. The classroom was routine for her by now. To her it was basically a cue to take a nap. I’m sure I’ve mentioned Dolly snored, though, I don’t know if I’ve ever gotten it across that she was loud. Really, I cannot stress this enough. I have some pretty epic snorers in my family and Dolly gave them quite good noise competition. Her puppy raiser told me that Dolly’s crate got moved to the hallway because even as a puppy she was obnoxiously loud. When I trained at GEB the girl on the opposite side of the room next door to mine, through a solid concrete wall, could hear Dolly snoring.

About midway through the class, her snoring got so bad I was starting to notice students rustling around, glancing back at my deeply sleeping dog. Her snores were to a point I was literally having trouble hearing the lecture. So, I lightly poked her with my foot, intending to get her to reposition herself and hopefully stop the lawnmower imitation she was doing in her sleep. Instead she woke with a loud snort, jumped up from the floor and noisily shook herself off. I’m sure every eye in the lecture hall was on us, including the professor’s.

“Oh!” He exclaimed as I tried to get Dolly back on the floor as inconspicuously as possible amid a classroom of gaping students. “That’s who was snoring.” I turned beat red on the spot, fully expecting him to have a fit about the disruption. “This entire time,” he continued, “I’ve been trying to figure out who would dare fall asleep in my class.”

There was a rather long beat, and then the professor just burst into hysterical laughter.

Do you have a question for me? Comment below, email me, or utilize any of the social links to the right.

  1. Students were often driven to distraction by the dog and it was incredibly unnerving to have them stare at us throughout the entire class.

Role-Playing Games

“Which: Western or Japanese RPGs?”

Merely saying JRPGs doesn’t quite answer this because I think there’s a general misunderstanding about what differentiates these two. Honestly, if we had better names for these two genres we probably wouldn’t have this raging debate, which is probably why some people call them PC and console RPGs respectively. However, that’s not much more accurate. And yes, they are two different genres and not two halves of a greater RPG whole. They can both trace their roots to tabletop role-playing games such as Dungeons & Dragons and they also borrow heavily from one another, but the emphasis that defines them is quite different.

Western RPGs, which originated here in the US, are about engaging the player in fantasy. Certainly these games can take place in fantasy settings, but in this context I mean “fantasy” as more “illusion.” The actual world of the game is made-up and through the main character, the player is living in said world. The other main facet of Western RPGs is the personal expression it affords the player through customization such as character creation and stat options.

Whereas on the flip side, JRPGs are defined by the narrative. The player is more like a puppet-master, guiding the main character through the game rather than actually becoming the character. You might notice a lot of older JRPGs lack much of the more dynamic elements of gameplay present in titles from the time. Take for example The Legend of Zelda in comparison to Dragon Quest and Final Fantasy. All three are fantasy adventures, but what little story there is in Zelda is found in the manual as opposed to the story unfolding as you play through DQ and FF. That’s why the gameplay is far more action oriented in Zelda. Of course, nowadays strong narrative is far more common in other games and no longer exclusive to JRPG titles. Coupled with game developers themselves not understanding what fans expect when playing their games,1 this has left JRPGs to flounder.

Oh, but you say that there are other differences between the two like combat mechanics and leveling systems. Yes, there are certainly common elements within both Western and JRPGs, but those things are specifics of gameplay and not defining characteristics of a genre. Otherwise, we’d be calling Paper Mario a platformer and Fallout 3 an FPS. Like I said before, there’s a lot of cross between genres, as is true of any type of entertainment. Likewise, just because these genres originated in Japan and the US, they are not exclusively made in any particular area of the world. Dark Souls, for example, is considered a Western RPG even though it was developed in Japan. Anyway, it’s also true that a lot of things fans enjoy about one genre or the other are those same common gameplay elements, but still these aren’t the defining qualities.

In any case, I personally find the fantasy immersion of Western RPGs is actually a disconnection. Ultimately, I end up feeling the entire game is pointless and playing them becomes very tedious.2 And perhaps it’s because I’m blind and thus not very visually focused, but having the ability to choose the most minute details of my character only frustrates me.

To me, a JRPG is like playing through a book. And you all know how much I love books!

Do you have a question for me? Comment below, email me, or utilize any of the social links to the right.

  1. I’m looking at you, Square Enix.
  2. It’s probably because so much of this is also present in MMORPGs that leaves me dissatisfied after some length of playing them, too.

Your Questions Answered

Awhile back I mentioned that Brooke had sort of given me an idea for a blog. Or at least I thought it would be better as an entire blog all its own, but after being urged several times not to do that realizing that was pointless I’m finally getting about utilizing said idea here.

It’s simple.1 You have a question. Ask me. And I’ll answer it.

And so without further ado, here’s the first2 question: “What irrational fear(s) do you have?”

Considering how much of a neurotic worrier I am you might think I have a long list of fears, but the truth is quite the opposite. I’d go on about those fears,3 but this question specifically asked about irrational fears and I do in fact have one.

I am scared of anthropomorphic food.

I know, it even sounds irrational!

First, let me explain it’s not that I’m not morbidly afraid of food moving of its own accord; I don’t run in terror at Charlie Chaplin’s table ballet or have a panic attack around JELL-O. However, the concept does freak me out enough that I am distinctly uncomfortable watching things like the ending of Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs. Actually, that example is especially traumatic for me because some of that food was alive and it really disturbs me seeing cooked poultry running around. And yes, if you’re wondering, it does make me lose my appetite. Not really from being grossed out, though that is sometimes part of it. It’s more that it just, well, bothers me. I know my food isn’t going to randomly hop off my plate or attempt world domination, but even so I just can’t make myself ingest anything.

I can actually pinpoint the origin of my phobia: the “Night of the Living Spud” episode of Darkwing Duck. The fact that my entire fear stems from a bunch of cartoon potatoes fighting a duck is exactly why this fear is irrational. There’s really no reason it should have bothered me then and certainly not some 20+ years later. But it did and it does. I don’t know exactly what, though. I don’t think I ever watched that episode a subsequent time and I honestly have no desire to do so.

Of course, if the world is ever invaded by killer fried chicken or its ilk, don’t say I didn’t warn you all about how scary anthropomorphic food is!

Do you have a question for me? Comment below, email me, or utilize any of the social links to the right.

  1. So simple it’s a wonder it took two months to actually post.
  2. Technically, this is the second question. The first I found too difficult to answer because it was based on a hypothetical that was incredibly specific. Sorry, Brooke!
  3. Feel free to ask me about fears in general if you want to know.