2016 Wrap Up

The arbitrary unit of time we know as 2016 has come to an end to much celebration for many.  I am a bit more reserved in my exuberance, since the future bleeds from the past, and the past twelve months have been less than fortuitous.  I try not to be a Morbid Mary, but my hopes for the future are…guarded at best.  Be that as it may, our little wet rock has taken another trip around its star.  Here I present what I’ve accomplished in that time, and what I’d like to accomplish before the next trip comes to a close.


The Question of the Week

This was a fun, little, weekly foray, and I greatly enjoyed coming up with questions and seeing all of your answers, but I’ve decided to end it.  Formulating a query and answering it took much longer than many would think, and I desperately need to dedicate my time to other things.  You can find all of the questions at the end of the above link.  Please feel free to answer any that strike your fancy!  I’m always up for a good discussion.


Books

2016 Goodreads Book Challenge: 20
Books “Completed” Per Goodreads: 21

Number of Books Finished: 18

  1. The Ghost of Buxton Manor
  2. The World of Ice and Fire
  3. The Tales of Yagath
  4. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children
  5. Sigil
  6. The Mystical Qabalah
  7. The Red Rose
  8. The Tales of Beedle the Bard
  9. The Invisible Library
  10. The Rape of Lucrece
  11. Spectrum
  12. The Slow Regard of Silent Things
  13. Paradise Lost
  14. Windhaven
  15. Dreamsongs Volume II
  16. Taggerung
  17. The Light of the Fireflies
  18. Dreamsongs Volume I
  19. The Jade Dragon
  20. Magonia
  21. Chained

Links go to my reviews.  The review for The Ghost of Buxton Manor is pending, as I just finished that this past week. I’m planning audio (potentially video) reviews for Paradise Lost and The Rape of Lucrece, which is why they don’t have reviews.

I technically only completed 18 books, since The Invisible Library and Magonia were both DNF, but I guess because I put an end date, Goodreads counts them.

Favorite Book: The Ghost of Buxton Manor by Jonathon L. Ferrara – I haven’t reviewed this yet, but I’ll have a glowing one for your perusal before the year is much older.  At initial rating I gave it four stars, but I just upped that to five because it deserves it.  The novel is an utter delight, and I highly recommend it.


Games

Number of Games Finished: 1

Final Fantasy IV

Number of Games Played: 4

  1. Final Fantasy IV (GBA)
  2. Final Fantasy I & II: Dawn of Souls
  3. World of Final Fantasy
  4. New Super Mario Bros.

This year wasn’t huge in the number of games I completed.  The number of games I even picked up to play was fairly small, too, not to mention mostly ensconced in one particular franchise.  The one outlier was the new SMB for the DS, which I had to give up on, because I sucked at the platforming.  I’m still playing the three other Final Fantasies and am firmly obsessed with World (I’ll probably be playing it later tonight).

I have established a play order, and this year (as others prior) is going to feature a lot of Final Fantasy.

  • World of Final Fantasy (current)
  • Final Fantasy XIII
  • Final Fantasy V (for the continued long term project)
  • I Am Setsuna
  • The Last Story

I also want to fit some smaller games into the mix.  I haven’t come up with a marching order for those yet, but if you keep up with my State of the Gamer post, you’ll stay well informed.

Number of Let’s Plays Watched (including current): 7

  1. Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks – Olizandri
  2. Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass – Olizandri
  3. Legend of Zelda – Hungry Goriya
  4. Mass Effect – Olizandri
  5. Mass Effect 2 (current) – Olizandri
  6. Miracle Warriors: Seal of the Dark Lord (current) – Hungry Goriya
  7. Faxanadu – Hungry Goriya

I was fortunate enough to discover two awesome let’s players this year: Olizandri, who’s English and bubbly and my blogger friend Hungry Goriya, the queen of retro gaming and the person I’d go to if I needed to find a rare game.  Oddly enough Faxanadu was the very first Let’s Play I ever watched years ago, done by Odinspack33 (who’s also Canadian) so it was nice to come back to that.  I love that modern technology has granted me the ability to watch the games I grew up with and loved in addition to games I’d never be able to experience any other way.

I’ve wanted to do a let’s play of my own for years, and I’m slowly gathering the equipment I’ll need.  I’m planning for the first to be Final Fantasy IV, because it’s one of my favorites and so unfairly underrated.  Since I’m such an amateur at this, I welcome any tips and tricks of the trade!


Essays and Reviews

Essays Completed: 5

  1. The Seventh Is the Darkest – An FFVII Meta and Examination
  2. Final Fantasy VII Revelations
  3. Stranger Things – Not Really a Review
  4. Character Analysis: Cecil Harvey
  5. Game of Thrones – Season 6 Final Predictions

I completely forgot I wrote that GoT Prediction post lol.  I was partially right about some things and completely wrong about others.  I need more soothsayer lessons.

Planned

  • Half a Tragedy is Worse than One – I’m still sitting on the outline for this FFVII/Greek Tragedy comparative essay.
  • A Song of FFVII – The last thing I did with this idea was separate the notes out into separate sections since there are far too many similarities to just write one piece.  There could still be additions and changes, but this is what I’m looking at so far.
    • Missing Mothers, Dickhead Dads, and Lost Children – I probably should find a better description than “dickhead dads,” but I love the alliteration hehe.  “Deadbeat” dads isn’t the right term since in the majority of the situations, the father is around much to the child/children’s rue.  Even if I went with the term “father,” all I can think of is “fucked up fathers.”  I’m open to suggestion 🙂
    • Norse Mythology – so much Norse Mythology in both narratives.  Nifleheim is “the land of always winter.”  I could write a dissertation on that alone.  This is one of the sections I want to hold off on writing until I read a prerequisite if you will.  In this case, that would be The Poetic Edda, which is already on my list and indeed bookshelf.
    • Collective Unconscious and a Thousand Faces – the second part invokes Joseph Campbell’s masterpiece The Hero With a Thousand Faces, which I talk a bit about in this question of the week.  The collective unconscious was (I believe) first proposed by famed psychologist Carl Jung, and both FFVII and ASOIAF use it in spades along with nefarious hive-minded entities.  Hell, I could throw in some FFIX in the mix, too in discussing the weirwood trees and how they may just be one entity with the roots running throughout the entire world.  The Iifa Tree was very similar.
    • The Seventh Revelation Song – I’ve already written an essay comparing Final Fantasy VII to the Book of Revelations, and Song invokes this, as well.  This will probably be one of the easier essays since I’ve done it before with VII, and the pieces fit nicely together in Song. (Speaking of which, I so love when an appropriate song comes on my iPhone as I’m writing about certain things.  “You Can Hear the Cry of the Planet” is currently creeping through my ears.)’
    • Qabalism – No doubt or question that I read The Mystical Qabalah because of Final Fantasy VII, which is the first place I heard the name and term “Sephiroth.”  It took me some time to realize that Song may have some connections to that concept as well.  I might be grasping at straws with it, but I think Melisandre in her binary of light and darkness could be invoking this timeless motif.  The Tree of Life symbolism though is everywhere, so as long as I make a proper argument for it, I believe I have a valid point.
    • Apotheosis, Dispossession, and Eugenics – ♫Everybody wants to rule the world♫ (or become a god.  Personally, I’d be bored after I summoned a meteor to, er, take care of certain things).  Dispossession arguably the main motivation in every story ever written.  Think about it.  Someone wants something or someone they think they were owed (rightly or wrongly), and they’re willing to move heaven and hell to get it or them.  Eugenics is fairly obviously in FFVII.  It’s a bit more vague in Song and has more to do with selective breeding, but…well, you’ll see.
  • Time Circles, Archetypes, and Paradigms: A Final Fantasy Meta – I’ve been thinking this for a while, but the two catalysts for moving forward are “The Door,” the episode of Game of Thrones where we find out *spoiler* ASOIAF is a gigantic time loop *end spoiler* and reviewing FFIV, which is a precursor for many familiar Final Fantasy motifs.  The very first game in the series is a time loop, and it made me realize that each iteration is merely a reorganized repeat of the ones that came before.  I wasn’t going to do much with this until I completed my huge play through project, but I’m reconsidering, since I’ve played or watched them all now except for V, which is next on my list, and XIII, which is, too.
  • Final Fantasy: Whisper Down the Names – Years ago, I thought up names for each Final Fantasy, a title that would encompass what the story was about.  I’ve changed my mind a bit on a few of them;  I currently have several options for VII; and I’ve also decided to think up appropriate quotes for each, too e.g. FFX’s phrase would be “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
    This is more a list than a full blown essay, but it warrants a mention I think.
  • Creepiest Parts/Moments of Final Fantasy – I really wish I could remember who helped inspire this idea.  I was reading one of your lovely posts, and I believe it was about scary game stuff or perhaps it was that YouTube video I watched about the enemies inspired by Lovecraft (newsflash: Jenova was #8 on that list.  I just needed to see what I knew to be validated).  Either way, I decided to come up with my own list of creeptastic moments in my favorite series.

I have many more essays than this, but these are the ones I’m going to focus on initially.

Book Reviews Completed: 16

Links to the book reviews are above in the Books section.

Planned: The Ghost of Buxton Manor – Since I just finished this, I have a review waiting in the wings.

Game Reviews Completed: 3

  1. Final Fantasy IV
  2. Final Fantasy III
  3. Super Paper Mario: Love and Loss

Even though they were done at opposite ends of the year, I did manage to crank out two Final Fantasy reviews within the duration of our planet’s solar journey.  FFIV’s review is easily longer than any of my essays.  Super Paper Mario is technically not a review, but rather an examination of a particular part of the game.  I wonder if I should move it, hm.

Planned: Dear Esther – I’ve had this review planned for over a year; I just haven’t had the time to write it.  It’ll be as in depth and detailed as any of my Final Fantasy ones.  I absolutely love this game.  The monologues are mesmerizing, and I’ve spent a great deal of time (and phone space) recording myself reading them.  Yep, I’m that narcissistic.


Stories

Finished: The Broken Rose

I finished The Broken Rose on 6/16/16.  I always put the date of completion below the end of the text.  I really need to start putting the start date at the beginning.  I’m still working on editing it as you know and posting chapters as I do.  I speak enough about this FFVII fanfiction in my State of the Writer posts.

Writing Plans

So.  Many.  Things.

  • Continue/Finish editing and posting The Broken Rose
  • Final edit and submission on The Threads of Sorrow – I’ve slacked on this for so long.  To be honest, I still don’t feel ready, but I suppose I should try to get myself out there again…into the scary publishing world 😦
  • Re-edit and reading of Northern Lights – I’ve been wanting to do an audio recording of this story ever since I finished it, and now I finally have the equipment to do so.  I used my Amazon gift cards to purchase a Yeti microphone.  There’s obviously going to be a learning curve as I navigate the ins and outs.  I thankfully have friends who’ve done this before, so I have resources to turn to and of course the all mighty Google.  The re-editing part is going to be light.

I’m going to keep the bullet point list at this.  I have more stories I want to work on, both fanfiction and original, but these preliminary plans are good enough now.


Blogging

I think this year was my best yet in the blogging world.  I befriended so many wonderful people I can’t even begin to name you all (I don’t want to forget any of you, so I shan’t even hazard to try).  Now I’m part of this epic and awesome blogging community and am so humbled by how nice and supportive everyone is.  I was never huge on Twitter, but my WP doings have bled into that often precarious social media outlet.

I do have some minor plans for The Shameful Narcissist Speaks.  I’ve been thinking of upgrading to a paid blog for a few months so I can post audio (potentially video) here.  One of the ASOIAF bloggers I follow had written an essay and had included an audio reading of it.  I love that idea.  It was convenient for me as I could listen to it at work, but even more important, people who are visual impaired can have access to the information, as well.  Also, I like the sound of my own voice lol.  Come on.  I am the Shameful Narcissist 😉

I’m also switching up my State posts a little bit, well, one of them at least.  To free up my weekends a little, I’m moving The State of the Writer to Thursdays as opposed to Saturdays.  I want to dedicate more weekend time to writing essays, and as I’ve been finding myself short of that commodity, some rearrangement was warranted.  I’m able to manage the two other State posts during the work week; hopefully, this one won’t be any different.


I hope this is a better arbitrary unit of time of all of you.  I hope you achieve whatever goals you set for yourselves and more.  Your following and even more friendship means the world to me.  Even if I might fall a bit behind in checking my blogs and comments (sorry!), never doubt that I’m always trying to catch up 🙂

Happy Blogging and Happy New Year ♥

37 thoughts on “2016 Wrap Up

  1. Admirable and ambitious planning, though I’m a little sorry you need to give up the Question. But I understand your need to prioritize. When I set schedules and deadlines, I tend to back out of everything else and focus on the most immediate thing. And because I also enjoy having many areas to explore, I try not to schedule too many things on a regular basis. Laundry is the major exception. 😉

    Best of the coming roll around the sun to you! I’m ramping up my trip tonight by sending 4 queries for the book out into the world. But I refuse to be scared. For each rejection, I’ve committed to making something beautiful. For each request for the entire manuscript, I will dance around the house screaming. When we find our dream agent, I will open the 36-year-old Mumm’s. I sure hope chilling it lying on its side all these years has kept it drinkable!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Your blog is always a treat to read. Looking forward to more posts from you in the new year! 😀
    Right now I’m so sleepy, but when I am more awake I am so reading that season 6 GOT predictions post you did since I’m a newbie to your blog and didn’t get to read it when you would have originally posted it. 😛

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Sounds like you had quite the year! I’m certainly glad I stumbled across your blog, either by pure coincidence or by way of you commented on one of my posts. Either way, 2016 was a great year for the WP blogging community. Thanks to you, LightningEllen, Hungry Goriya, Well Red Mage, and many others, I’ve discovered so many blogs and made a ton of new friends. I look forward reading, viewing, and listening to whatever content you create throughout 2017. You’ll always have my support!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank goodness for modern technology and to-do lists! It’s the only way I can organize my life. I’d be even more of a headless chicken than I already am. I always feel like I’m neglecting something, which is kind of true. I am waaaaay behind in checking my emails/blog subs. Ah well. That’s what weekends are for.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Goodness, people really seem to have liked that! I did enjoy doing it, but alas, the time. I may reinstate it or possibly throw a random question out into the blogosphere every now and then.

      Ugh, I know…I always have to make my life more difficult. I have added a few platformers to my list, but the looming 50+ hour RPGs will always be there.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Gosh, I feel like such a slacker now! Looks like you have some exciting plans for this next unit of time 🙂 I’m so glad I found your blog, and I’m looking forward to seeing what you do next! Happy blogging, and writing, and playing, and…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Well you know what they say about the best laid plans of mice and men hehe. Technically, I’m not either hm. That bodes well!

      I’m glad I found your blog, too! I’ve always been avidly analytical, and it’s wonderful to find someone else who shares that passion 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Thanks for sharing your recap! It sounds like you had a very fruitful year, and it shows through all the awesome posts you’ve written up this year! Also, you may have only completed FFIV, but MAN DID YOU COMPLETE FFIV. Your analysis was top-tier, and I enjoyed all of the related articles you wrote about that. I also have been enjoying your FF Tarot Card articles, of course! Keep up the excellent work into 2017 and Happy New Year!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I did! I got way more accomplished than I thought it did. That’s why it really pays to take a look back, since things often become lost in the shuffle.

      I completed the hell out of that game lol. And I’m STILL playing a version of it o.O

      Thanks so much! I can’t wait to see more pictures and tales of you and your wife’s exploits in Japan 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I’ll certainly miss Question of the Week, but I can’t wait to see your other projects. Congrats on reading so many books this year. I’ll have to check out Ghost of Buxton Manor someday. I set my Goodreads 2017 reading goal very low so I can feel like I accomplished something, lol.

    Thank you for making me play FFIV! I’m horrible at platform games in general. I had to cheat to finish Metroid before my goal date, haha. Also, the second game on your To Play list gets a double thumbs up from me 🙂

    I can’t wait to read all of your essays. The “Fucked up fathers” section name gets my vote, lol. The publishing world scares the hell out of me, but I know your great story deserves the blessing of an almighty publisher. You can do it this year!

    Good luck with everything you are planning this year! I’m so happy to have met you in 2016 and I can’t wait to see what you accomplish in this arbitrary unit of time. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh goodness! Lots of people really like QOTW hm. Well, I’m going to stand by my decision for now to see if it opens up some extra time, just like I’m going to try to do the State of the Writer post on Thursday, but since so many have expressed they like it, it may not be gone forever. It was definitely fun, and I do still have many more questions my notes I could ask.

      Ghost was such a phenomenal story, and now I need to research the characters since they’re based on real people! Whatever you set your goal to, even if you don’t make it, you still read something. I’m not too mad at myself anymore for not getting to 20. I *kinda* did, but didn’t finish all the books I started since they didn’t hold my attention.

      Ah you’re welcome! Thanks for setting me straight on FFXIII. I’ve fallen into the trap of listening to too many critics before, and it often leads me astray. Many people didn’t like FFVIII, and it’s a game I thoroughly enjoy. I also have no major issue with FFXII. Well, the story is a bit lacking, but most complained about the gambit and level up system, which I had no issues with. Nor did I have a problem with VIII’s junction system, which is soooo easy, once you get used to it.

      Bahaha I like Missing Moms and Dickhead Dads, but I feel like I should make it sound more…professional? I don’t know. I constantly refer to Hojo as Sephiroth’s dickhead dad because it’s the best description for him. What an ass grrrrr.

      The publishing world is terrifying. Like getting rejected is scary, but NOT getting rejected is scary, too, because then you have to contend with their schedules, demands, and whatnot. I’m *painfully* shy and hate being the center of attention. Why did I decide to get into this business again???

      Good luck to you, too! Befriending you was one of the best parts of 2016. It definitely made it suck way less. Hopping on my computer and going through my blog subs or comments is often the highlight of my day, and now I have the Twit to look forward to, too. I may not be that quick with reading all the latest blog posts (I’m currently almost a week behind D: D: D:) but I always get to it and/or try to sneak in reading some of the shorter ones at lunch 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’d certainly like to see it make a grand reappearance someday, but I totally get that you need time to work on your other awesome projects.

        My Goodreads goal is 1, hehe. I think that’s achievable 🙂

        I’m so glad you’re giving FFXIII a try soon! I’ll be honest, it is extremely linear (there’s too many open world games out there now anyway, IMO) and there’s really no exploration until near the end of the game. However, I loved the story/characters and the battle system. It also created Lightning and helped me through a rough time, so it’ll always have a special place in my heart. I can’t wait to read what you think about it!

        Publishing is so terrifying! You are so right. Either outcome is scary! You’re probably in this business because you want to share your epic stories with many people who need something to relate to, and to also live the dream of becoming a paid author. And those are great reasons to brave the beast. 🙂

        Meeting you certainly made my 2016 suck way less! Those are highlights of my day too. I was never into Twitter before, but the community there is truly awesome. I find the blog posts do add up quickly when I miss a few days here. Good luck with your blog backlog. If any of my rambling posts are on your “to read” list, feel free to skip them. Your valuable time is much better spent working on the projects that are important to you! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        • One of my friends tried to dissuade me from playing it because it’s so linear! To be honest, I don’t mind that at all. I’m okay with open world, but not so open world as something like WoW. I actually like having a plotted course and a story. It’s one of the huge draws for Final Fantasy for me. FFVII is really linear until you get out of Midgar tbh, so it’s not like I’m not used to it lol.

          Right?! You’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t.

          Oh man I hate mushy stuff, but yes, it’s true. Becoming friends with you made 2016 such way less. I wonder if disliking that kind of thing is an INFJ trait hm. I always feel super awkward/embarrassed like “Oh no! They’ll know I have a heart. Say something witty/deflecting now!”

          I got through all the NYE and NYD posts. I’m going to tackle the ones from 1/2 and hopefully 1/3 tomorrow. I don’t want to waste my valuable time NOT reading your posts!

          Liked by 1 person

          • I found it about as linear as FFX was. And I loved FFX as well. Not every game has to have a big open world to explore. Sometimes it’s nice to just be shown a story and fight things. I played WoW for like 8 years too. Yes, that world is way too open, haha.

            Oh, I hate the mushy stuff too, lol. I’m truly honored to call you a friend though! I’m pretty sure it is an INFJ thing. I use sarcasm to hide my overly soft heart all the time. One meme I read on the Farcebook page I follow (INFJ Refuge) comes to mind: “INFJ Problems – Caught between wanting to be a badass who takes shit from no one and being the most sensitive human being within a 100 mile radius.”

            That’s a good strategy for conquering your blog backlog! 🙂 Trust me, you aren’t missing anything from my tiny piece of the internet, hehe.

            Liked by 1 person

            • That’s how I feel! I’m more of a linear story line person myself, though I don’t knock people who like things like WoW or Skyrim. I feel like I just need direction…in both gaming AND life :p

              I use randomness! And a little bit of acerbic, self-directed wit, and I’m the mistress of the eye roll. My husband is a bit of the mushy type, and I’m always like *gag* stop it. Though if I imbibe too much, I can become a puddle of mess. Horrible. I need to find these pages. I’m sure I”ll be able to relate to them, because in my head I’m a total bad ass who’s going to lead the revolution, when in reality someone says something mean and I run away to hide my tears.

              Liked by 1 person

              • I like a good open world game every now and then. Seeing Cheap Boss Attack enjoying WoW so much is making me want to go back. Must resist… It’s just that it seems like everyone wants EVERY game to be like that. I like a more diverse gaming experience, and there’s nothing wrong with a linear experience. Plus open world game are tough on the old backlog.

                I highly recommend INFJ Refuge! I find comfort in a lot of their posts and I strongly relate to them.

                Liked by 1 person

                • More variety with games is so much better. I definitely don’t hate open world games. Legend of Zelda could be considered one now that I’m thinking about it! But it sill has a cohesive story to tie the world together. I can see how they’d be tough on the backlog. That open world is, well, quite open so you’d need to log a lot of hours to do a full complete.

                  Oooh I need to remember to do that! I was just on the old book of faces to update my Sephiroth fan page. I’m so bad at that lol. I have it on my planner to do two or three times a week, but I sometimes just brush it off. People keep following the page though o.O

                  Liked by 1 person

                  • Oh Zelda is definitely one. Especially that fancy new one that is coming soon. Must resist urge to buy Switch…

                    I saw and liked the Great General’s latest post 🙂 I find Pages are just something to follow, that pop up in my feed whenever. If they aren’t updated often I don’t really notice, lol.

                    Liked by 1 person

                    • I just got my Hyrule Historia book in the mail today! It’s going to be my next “reference” after I finish Prof. Hawking’s Universe in a Nutshell. Hm, arguably I suppose HH could be considered the same :p

                      I think it’s my neurosis hehe. Also the page will say “XXX people haven’t heard from you in two weeks,” and then I get all anxious like “I MUST post something.” That’s how I look at fan pages, too. If they pop up I notice them. If they don’t, sometimes I’ll recall particular ones, but yeah, this is totally me being all paranoid.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Omg it’s so evil. They’ll throw up a “xxx people haven’t heard from you in 10 days” or something like that. No one really notices! I guess it’s like how Netflix will ask if you’re still watching after three or four episodes. My guess is they might render your page inactive if you don’t keep up with it.

                      Liked by 1 person

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