Halsdoll’s News: My Blog Reach 100 followers! Thank you!

The constant environmental stimulation coming from downtown Seattle area is hard to avoid. I’ve been in Seattle for some time now and it seems like it’s getting worse. In the beginning of 2020, there was a gunfire shooting on 3rd Ave that killed civilians. And with current national news in the U.S, it doesn’t seem to get any brighter. Asian-American hate crime is on the rise. Even more scarier is targeting against Asian-American women. It’s very tiring and mentally exhausting that I feel it’s okay to withdraw from the society and shut myself in and watch martial arts films and play games to save my sanity. No news is ever good news it seems.

The view of Wine and Tapas Bar (a.k.a co-worker’s apartment). My co-workers kindly took me in after I visited a Tarot Reader, ranting to them on how I felt so lost in life. And then the pandemic hit a few months later (photo taken on 06/07/2019)

Okay that’s just an excuse for my introversion. Even if there’s no crime–I would still withdraw from the society to enrich my soul with activities that bring me a lot of joy. But I hope you enjoyed reading my dire news introduction for this blog post.😜

On the bright side, this blog has become a very good friend. And now I finally reach 100 followers. Wow that’s pretty awesome. 100 people actually thought my blog is cool enough to follow. Hello, thanks! Nice to meet you!

I am also proud to have published a total of 91 posts (92 if I included this post) which were thought out carefully. Not so bad, considering the fact I was suffering from mental fatigue. I’m in better health now ever since I started cooking and eating properly; and learning to accept that there are some things in life we simply just have no control of.

I know blog would grow faster if I collaborate with other bloggers and follow SEO rules, but I prefer to work alone and figure what works and what doesn’t for myself. Plus producing high quality reviews is more important to me than growing blog massively. But with the right person, I might consider. If you are like me, you have a taste for fine things. You search for real connection and authenticity in the entertainment world or in life generally. I’m also assuming, you’re looking for meaningful content as well as creating it. There’s more to life than just a name; I mean fame.

So what to expect for the future of this blog?

  • Will continue to write insightful reviews
  • More creative posts to come
  • Will continue to post once a week since I think it’s manageable for my schedule (consistency is key to successful blogging)
  • In depth analyses on books and games (More quality content would be produced though if this was a full time job)

Pretty much, I am here for the long haul and so far, I’m very proud of this blog. As they say, when you take ownership of your craft, it adds more value to you than going to work for a paycheck and in return, I hope my content can offer something of valuable to you as well.

Well that’s it for now. Stay tuned for my honest, awesome insightful reviews. Until next time, see you ~

CODE VEIN_Action-RPG
Halsdoll playing a tune in Code Vein, an action adventure anime-like RPG game

Halsdoll’s Diner Menu Update: Food for Movie Time & No–Popcorn Is Not on the List

Oh the power of setting goals. I have many goals (creative, personal, and financial) and then I wonder how I wore myself out easily and ended up feel lazy from time to time. I realized I am only human. Not a machine. I achieved one of my goals. That I can boast.

If you are new to my blog, awhile ago, I set a goal for myself to become a better cook (you can click on the link to my blog post here: Halsdoll’s Diner: It’s Breakfast Time). It’s a good goal. Who can say no to food? The only problem with this goal is the outcome is food baby (a.k.a. potbelly). Now it just won’t go away. It keeps growing. Nooooo!!! Maybe my next goal is to find a good belly exercise so I can have a flat tummy again? Life’s woe never ends…

On the positive side, I have more energy than four years ago when I was underweight. Food is supposed to give us the energy to power throughout the day. So a little potbelly is okay. So what’s on the menu?

Halsdoll’s side dish (snacks)

I love eating French Fries like how I like eating chips. They are so good and addictive. Paired fries with a good film, it becomes a recipe for potbelly. Not a lot of movement going on when you are busy watching the screen and stuffing fries in your mouth. Sometimes when a film is so good you get suck into its world. It’s like holding your breath for 30 seconds driving through a tunnel. You get the picture, it can get intense and not eating mindfully will make anyone gain weight fast. I don’t know if I can ever eliminate fries though. They are just addictively good. Now that I know how to make my very own fries, I don’t need to go to the restaurants for fries.

Next up…Halsdoll’s Half Sandwich. No literally, the piece of bread is missing on purpose. That’s why it falls under snack. I like to eat this like I eat pizza. It has cranberries, crumbled goat cheese, spinach, turkey meat and buttered wheat bread. Yummy snack! I just can’t get enough!

Halsdoll’s Lunch Menu

I love sandwiches and have yet to make more different kinds. For now, I present my tuna fish sandwich, side with vinegar chips. Provolone cheese goes well with tuna. I like to switch it up with Swiss cheese from time to time.

Next up, who can say no to salad. I love vegetables. I present my salad! Still not as good at some of the places I go to–but I am getting there! At least have mastered boiling eggs! What a big achievement for me!

Lastly, fried rice. My mom made good fried rice. Mine is decent compared to hers but better than some restaurants. The good thing about cooking for yourself–you cook with love and so food tastes better.

Well that’s it for now. I hope you enjoy this little blog post. I did not realize how fun cooking can be but also time consuming. It takes a lot of patience, skills, planning, and gathering ingredients. Quality foods take time. Now I understood why my mother was so diligent about fresh ingredients and quality foods. It brings happiness and the family together around the table.

Hope you found a good meal to go with your movie time. Until next time, see you~

Ghost In the Shell (1995)Review: The Future of Humanity Is A Stream of Conscience

What are we? We are nothing more than a ghost in a shell. In the near future, the world will erase nations and races. What do we get, something beyond AI. Ghost in the Shell, based on a manga by Shirow Masamune is a film that I have never got around to watching until now. I wouldn’t understand it anyway if I were a kid. Let’s just say it’s some pretty deep stuff. It’s so deep that it’s almost omnisciently god-like. It made me wonder if God is a computer?! After all, life is nothing more than just information of simulated experiences. Are humans really different from machines?

In this animation, Major Motoko Kusanagi, a cyborg for Section 9, an anti-cybercrime Japanese Law enforced organization, was given the task to hunt down the cyber criminal known as Puppet Master whose identity is sexless, originated from America and is the most extraordinary cyber criminal hacker. What is its intention? It seeks to spread its kind through the network of information. As a living organism, it is fated to die and therefore it wishes to merge with another entity to pass on its “DNA”. Who do you think is the lucky bride? The Major, who is a mirror of the Puppet Master.

It’s a great animation to watch and if you want to dive into deep philosophical questions about what makes human a human. The Puppet Master, also known as Project 2501, is a bug which has its own desire and freewill separate from its programmers (sounds kind of scary). It wishes to complete itself from one particular frame of mine that is make up of a single entity. In other words, it’s trying to create an entirely new entity–something beyond humans and AIs; something like a godly being who knows and sees everything. After all, variety is good for the continuation of existence. Different viewpoints like variety of genes, ensure a higher chance in the birth of stronger beings. I can see why this film is a masterpiece. Apparently, the bug in Project 2501, like humans, wants to procreate. Woah, that’s some deep stuff I just watched.

The Magic Blade (1976) Review: Life Is A Game of Chess

I have always admired those who play chess and are good at it because I don’t know how to play or even know the rules. It seems to require a lot of strategy. I would love to learn how to play one day. It sounds like a difficult game and a game which involves having a sharp mind. Magic Blade, directed by Chu Yuan, is a film revolving around this concept. It’s an action adventure martial arts film with plenty of cool quotes. One of them is “I don’t kill unarmed woman.” The phrase was used towards a flamboyant opponent who had no sword but his hands as a weapon. And the phrase is said again later in this film when his opponent is female, but this time he said, “but you have a weapon.” The protagonist is like a Chinese Clint Eastwood, played by the actor Lung Ti. He just has an air of coolness to him. He doesn’t follow anyone rules and yet he has a sense of deep integrity as a swordsman, which is quite admirable. Plus the choreography in this film is quite entertaining because the protagonist looked so cool beating up the underworld martial artists. It left me feeling good as if I was him beating up the bad people. However, it’s not all just cool in that sense. The film has a deeper meaning beyond the fighting and being the best.

To be on top, means to have no friends and thus you’d find yourself in a lonely place. That same statement can be said just about anything. The wealthier and more famous you become, the less friends you have. I often wonder is that why so many famous people are so depressed and alone? What’s the point of playing chess in real life if your hair will grow grey and you become old and weary from losing your throne? To be king of the martial arts world means death because you are always watching your back–afraid that you’d get attack.

Overall, it’s a great film. I watched it three times. It’s so romantically philosophical and poetic. It’s a reminder not to lose sight of our humanity in the pursuit of our ambition. We want to be the best, but if not careful, we’d end up in a very lonely place.

I watched this on on Amazon Prime Video. It’s free for streaming if you are a prime member, and no I am not advertising Amazon Prime Video. It’s just in case you want to watch the film.

Halsdoll’s Diner: How about Some Live Music and Merry Christmas

My diner is a little shabby and there aren’t many customers so I thought I put some music so I will bring some more customers to my diner (a.k.a blog). If you are new to my blog, please check out my old blog post why I created it in the first place. If you are just stopping by, I am so happy you are here! Please come in and enjoy your stay!

On the menu, I am putting in hamburger. I used whole-wheat buns and they come in small size as I can never finish a big full size hamburger. But if this is too small for you, then I can make you two with the price of 1. Does that sound like a deal? 🙂

Halsdoll’s Hamburger

Please also enjoy this original song I wrote about three years ago inspired by the game Armored Core: Last Raven. There will more be live music to come as I enjoy writing songs as a hobby apart from gaming and all the other hobbies I have. Please enjoy and come again to Halsdoll’s Diner.

P.S

I know I post this on Christmas Eve because I am just too excited to post on Christmas Day. I want to unplug from the internet on that day. 🙂

Belated Thanksgiving Dinner: Halsdoll’s Style

People already have their Christmas tree up whereas I’m just getting to Thanksgiving. If this was a real job I might have gotten fired by now. I’m from the West Coast. People here are pretty laid back, a little tardiness is okay. I’m only a few days late. I’m here. I’m present! The stock market is not to going to crash. I’m not in a rush to get a heart attack!

Yes I failed to keep my promise:

New post twice a week or maybe three if I am feeling inspired.

What kind of business woman am I? Maybe I should learn how not to make commitment because I am not very good at it. I am most productive when I am feeling free. Just envision a wild horse running and roaming free in the wild. After all, I was born in the USA, the land of the free. I like to be my own boss and set my own rules.

For those who are new to my blog, I am on a quest to become a better cook. Since I am a life long student, I thought I mind as well pick up a beneficial hobby that would make me feel good mentally and physically. For Thanksgiving dinner, I made mashed potatoes using red potatoes. As for the gravy, I found a recipe on YouTube using chicken broth. It was therapeutic just making it. I felt so calm and relaxed. Don’t feel sad for me if you think my Thanksgiving dinner is petty. Because this mashed potatoes was so rich, I didn’t need any side dishes to go with it. It filled me up the whole day. I’m in lockdown mode so I didn’t need a big dinner. It would have been nice if I had some corn on the cob with it. Isn’t Thanksgiving originally a Native American holiday?

I must say I was proud of my small achievement and the greatest part eating alone is I don’t have to impress anyone. It was a very stress free holiday so I enjoyed it: Halsdoll’s style.

That’s it for now. Hope you had a nice holiday and always remember to be thankful that we are here for another day! Happy belated Thanksgiving. 😀

My Video Games Shopping List (Part III): Bright Colored Games for Mental Health

If you are worried about talking into the void and it makes you feel invisible, unworthy, neglected, unlovable, it’s okay. I am used to talking to myself and I am quite proud of it. I don’t care how introverted you are but humans are made to talk! So talk to the void if you need to release mental stress! There is no shame to it. I promise it will make you feel better. Isn’t that why people confess to the preacher? Well I hope your sins are not too big.

I need to talk and I must talk! If you are new to my blog, I like to make a list of three recommendations. This time it’s video games instead of movies. I did this shopping list a few years ago on my old blog when I was still a bit timid about online exposure. You can check them out here:

My Shopping List–Casual Games are Great!

My Video Games Shopping List (Part II)

In the upcoming winter days, I prefer playing bright colored games. It’s good for mental health if you are feeling a little down from all the gloomy weather and the Dark Cloud (do you like the pun? I still have yet to beat the game, hehe).

  1. Sakuna of Rice of Ruin

I live in the city and city life has its pros and cons, but these days it’s more cons ever since the pandemic hit. If you can work remotely, there is no point in living in the city. Transportation was the main factor why there are city dwellers like me. But on the plus size, things have been quiet in the city except during certain nights I can hear homeless people shouting. It’s really sad because some are suffering from mental illness. It really is a societal issue. Even before the pandemic, I often dreamed of going into the mountains or somewhere far from civilization so I can breathe nature. I think I found the perfect game: I can play as a farm girl. Yeah, I want to be a country girl for a change! It looks fun and its popping bright colors will sure lift anyone’s mood in the upcoming winter days.

2) Dragon Quest XI S: Echoes of An Elusive Age – Definitive Edition

I need to escape from reality ASAP, did I mention I am stranded in the city? I played the demo and really like how immersive the game is. I feel transported into a different world that is less chaotic. I think this is the game I am going to play on my birthday! Some people hate being born close to Christmas, but not me, I am sure the only present I need for Christmas and birthday combined is a good game. Bright colored games= instant happiness.

3) Cuphead

Cuphead [Online Game Code]

I normally purchased pc games that are story-driven and that is where I play most of the indie titles. They can be quite relaxing to play before bedtime. For Cuphead, I am still debating whether I should purchase this on Steam or on PlayStation store. The illustration looks great and I am always up for an adventure so Cuphead made it to my list for the winter days!

I hope you enjoy my recommendations even though I haven’t played them yet! I guess I am just so excited I have to make a list. Hopefully you found something you like on the list as well and it will add a little sunshine to your life. Well that is it for now, bye bye.

Halsdoll’s Diner: It’s Breakfast Time

I am due for a post! I have the energy to whip a post after drinking hot chocolate. I feel so recharged. While on my mini blog break I had a strange idea to motivate myself to become a better cook. As I mentioned in my previous post I need to learn how to cook properly so I don’t disappear. So I decided to create my very own diner and the only customer is me! That way I won’t risk getting the virus! On a serious note though, I used to dine alone a lot after work because I am too lazy to cook but that has changed! Life is different now so I have to adapt to the new reality.

Anyway, I went to the grocery store bought food this weekend so I don’t have to go out for the remaining of the week. While I was at the grocery store, I realized there are so many men in ponytails shopping for food by themselves. The lockdown sure has turned many men into cavemen. I don’t know if that is a good thing or not–but it doesn’t bother me as long they are civil. For the most part, they are polite.

I thought I’d start creating my menu. Back in the day, in my happy days in elementary, I have always admired the lunch ladies for planning out meals for each day. School lunch actually tasted really good so this is where I got the inspiration from apart from watching Midnight Diner on Netflix, which I enjoy very much. Stories surrounding around food sound appetizing. With patience and practice, I can become a better cook. I feel so happy just thinking about it.

For my menu, I start with the basic first, which is breakfast. It is also my favorite meal of the day! You can’t go wrong with a nice hearty breakfast. So far I made pancakes and French toasts. I am almost perfected the shape of my pancake but I need to be more patient so I can make a perfect circle! After all, we also eat with our eyes. I wonder is that where the word eye candy came from? Wait that is not the same thing! Oh my goodness I am turning into a pervert for food!

Breakfast is so good with black coffee!

I hope you enjoy breakfast with me at Halsdoll’s Diner. Please come again next time!

P.S

I just realized I need some eggs and sausage with my pancake. One step at a time, I am getting there.

Netflix Series Atelier: It’s Not Just About Underwear

My mother once said, you can tell a lot about a person’s personality based on the shoes he or she wears.  From looking at the picture below (yes it’s my shoes), that’s not far from the truth.

I’m plain, practical, and environmentally conscious.  Rain or shine, I love to walk. I’ve had these shoes for over 12 years! The more I wear it, the more comfortable it feels. As much as I adore my beaten-up shoes, I do feel self-conscious about it, especially around other women.  Not everyone finds my shoes adorable, especially my mother who often scolded me for my unkempt appearance.  They might even associate it with the lack of funds in my bank account after seeing me wear the same shoes every day, or what is worse, they might see me lacking in confidence as a woman. Unfortunately, women do care a lot about their appearance and there is a good reason why.

After watching a chic Netflix show called Atelier, the concept can’t be more true–women often choose clothes to express their inner beauty.   In this case, the show uses lingerie and not shoes to illustrate this point.  Lingerie is a metaphor for beauty.  After all, lingerie is not meant to be displayed because real beauty, according to the show, is hidden and each woman defines it differently.

You are probably thinking it’s just a show about women. Not entirely true.  It’s about creators who wish to express themselves a bit more freely apart from doing business.  Making money and creating art are two different things.  The show clearly pointed that out.  If you are an artist, or a creative person, I think you can empathize with the characters very well. We often struggle with creating things we don’t always want to do, but we do it because there is a market for it. It’s like a show that cheers all the creative people in the world: “You can do it as a struggling artist! Make money with your art!” I was so moved by the scene where one of the characters subtly insulted businessmen and their mass-produced products. Businessmen/women have the tendency to follow what is popular—they research a product just to secure a profit. I get it. Money is the backbone of a functioning society, however, starving creativity, kills the human soul. We begin to ask ourselves what’s the meaning of our existence if we can’t create the things we want.

Another thing I liked about the show was watching the main character (Mayuko Tokita) and the side character (Mayumi Nanjo) interacting like mother and daughter. They don’t always agree with each other. The mother-like character was always scolding the unruly daughter.  Overall, I thought the show did a great job with characters development. They all grew and as a result, I learned something very valuable along with them.  Maybe it’s time for me to have some self-confidence. Get a new pair of shoes and run after my true passion (sorry ancestors if my passion brings you shame).

I am surprised how much I enjoyed the show. I didn’t expect much from it.  I recommend this show, especially to female audience or if you are one of those people who are in tuned with your creative side.

Note: Originally posted on Mar. 29, 2019, revised Jul. 20, 2020.

Because It’s Popular Doesn’t Mean It’s Good

The difference between the artist and the entertainer is that the artist creates out of selfish reasons: the self wants to come out. Whereas the entertainer, creates its medium solely for the purpose of its audience. Now selfishness is not always a bad thing. Taking care of one’s mental health by creating art actually heals the mind and it might help put things into perspective for other folks too. It’s a win win situation if done right.

Recently, I noticed that creators become sensitive when their works don’t receive the praise it should. It’s only natural to defend your creation because it’s like a baby that you bring into the world. If you think about it, the baby (creation) grows into an adult. The creator is the parent, so it wants the baby to reach perfection. It’s a parent’s pride to pass on his/her legacy. So naturally the baby becomes better overtime with the parent’s guidance. This is the curse of an an artist (read A Hunger’s Artist by Kafka). Constructive criticism is not meant to deflate one’s ego but to improve. I say this because I met many people who can’t handle criticism and therefore I’ve been called mean when in truth, I just have a keen eye for art.

So I will tell you a little story. When I was little, I was fascinated (still am) with the afterlife. I was obsessed and at the same time terrified of ghosts. I remember my first drawing was at age 4, and they were drawings of ghosts. I was so proud of my drawing that I went up to my siblings on one lazy summer afternoon, and I showed it off to them. I was a very confident child. A couple years later when I can distinguish shapes and sizes, I returned to my old drawings and realized what I drew was just scribbles. My confidence in my ability as an artist started to plummet once I was aware that what I create today might not be good at all. Creative people like to sabotage their own works. Real creators care less about praises, but more about how they can improve. It really is a curse.

It takes a lot of courage to show your creation to the world. So I must applaud to brave creative people out there who put their hearts and sweat into bringing something to life. The world will judge your creation surely. Some people would like it and some won’t, but what’s most important, is that your creation will connect with someone and bring them comfort. So taking that risk, is truly worth it. And that includes creating video game for art sake.