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I’m using a very broad definition of self-help for my book reviews. Basically, I’m including any book that may be applicable to personal growth work, or which sells itself as applicable to personal growth work. Whatever the accuracy, comprehensiveness, or readability of the contents, in my experience, self-help books tend to have a purpose or a direction, something that they are trying to do. It can be helpful in finding the right self-help book to know both what the book is trying to do and what you want to get out of it. A good match up can be worth more than all the well-written doorstops in the world.

 

The majority of self-help books I have fit into a few categories (Fixer, Awareness Raiser, Argument, Resource, and How-To):

 

The Fixer is, by far, the most common type. You have a problem; they have the Solution. The Fixer makes promises, sometimes extensive, about outcomes and focuses on what you have to do to get those life changing outcomes.  By necessity, these solutions will be simplified, and narrowed or generalized, enough to fit in a mass production paperback. As a result, these books may be presented as a series adapting the same basic material for different circumstances (i.e. “The Fixer”, “The Fixer at Home”, “The Fixer at Work”, “The Fixer in Outer Space”, etc). It is a lovely, gift-wrapped Hammer for all your nail and nail-shaped-object needs. 

 

The Awareness Raiser is almost the opposite of the Fixer. It may or may not have an actual solution presentation. Instead, it focuses on identifying, naming, presenting, and describing a problem (i.e. “The Problem With Fixing”). You might not have known there was a problem, or the scope of it, before reading an Awareness Raiser, but you certainly know after. That’s the point. 

 

The Argument is like the child of the Fixer and the Awareness Raiser and, like all children, it has its own unique character. This is the self-help book equivalent of “Somebody is Wrong on the Internet”. Whatever solution it may present is secondary to convincing you that That Other Solution(s) is Wrong. 

 

The Resource aims more towards educating, informing, and explaining information about a particular area. It may be a broad overview book (i.e. “Everything You Never Wanted to Know About Everything Related To That Thing”) or very narrow (i.e. “That Thing”), but in either case it tends to present itself as a repository of knowledge about an area. If this book had a motto, it would be “Knowledge is Power” or “Here’s a Crate of Power Tools, Good Luck”.

 

The How-To focuses primarily on skills development. The goal of these books is for the reader to be able to do, or at least attempt, a skill (i.e. “How to Talk to Complete Assholes”). The mere knowledge of the problem or solution isn’t enough to ensure a good outcome. The reader is expected to do something with the material… you know… like learn, or practice, or otherwise do-the-thing. The How-To is more about process than outcome, and your outcomes may vary.

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Last time we walked around a shopping mall/apartment building and I discovered my pun game is nowhere near as clever as I thought it was. I briefly considered retiring in deepest shame to a far-off island and becoming a hermit, but y'know I'm already set up to blog about Pokemon on the internet so I guess I'll just keep rolling with that.
It's a good option. )
So next time, we might actually get up that mountain I've been talking up! STAY TUNED.
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When we last left our intrepid heroine, she had relentlessly mocked Team Magma (Did you know humans stand on the land? It's true!) and moved on to Mauville City.
It's a giant mall! )
See you next time!
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It is almost impossible for me to overstate how suspicious I was of Kemono Friends at first, thanks to the current landscape of anime.

An anime with an all-girl cast airing late at night ("Otaku-o-clock") with obvious mysteries surrounding the landscape and identity of one of the primary characters, with nebulous monsters involved? And it's all sweet and innocent and gentle, to the point where critics were calling it "mind-sapping" or "intelligence-draining"? Yeah.

I was 99% sure this would be a cunning trap designed to lure in viewers and punch them in the face with "deconstructions" and "oh look everything you loved about this show was secretly evil and gross haha".

Kemono Friends never does that.

What looks sweet and gentle stays sweet and gentle through the whole thing. The mysteries are tied up well but just vaguely enough there's an opening for a season 2. All through the 12 episode run, it remains a Nice Show about cheerful anime-furry girls. Every one of them is a Friend. However, there's this new girl. She doesn't know what animal she is, but she's very good at solving problems. What kind of Friend could she be?

It is not perfect. The fact is, this is a tie-in show to a mobile phone game that was canceled before the show came out. They basically just handed some 3D rendering software to a VERY small animation studio and went "Whatever, do what you like."

Visually, this is ratty-looking. Vehicle wheels will forget to spin, Friends will skip along the top of the grass instead of walking on the ground, the action scenes are mostly just big jumps, characters "fly" like they're being click-dragged across a Windows desktop and one character (Plains Zebra Friend) in the background of a shot was so poorly rendered the fanart imageboard tag for her is "Savannah Striped Giant Slug".

So it doesn't look great and it's chirpily sugar-sweet, but... I feel like this show just has so much heart. Somebody cared, and that snowballed. Kemono Friends has a loving sense of humor, it treats its characters with respect. It knows what to leave unsaid. The big moments it has are predictable but treated without irony or a wink to the audience. It's earnest and I loved it.

It's still really clearly for kids (WHAT was this doing in a late-night time slot?!) but I enjoyed it as a weird furry adult, and I'm not alone. Kemono Friends was a smash Japanese hit, to the point where not only will there be a season 2, there will also be a new mobile phone game, one based on the anime this time.

It honestly warms my heart to see that happen. I look forward to season 2.

(If you're going to try it, please note episode 1 is maybe the weakest and reflects -all- the problems I mentioned. By episode 3 and 4, the series has hit its stride and if those do nothing, it's worth moving on.)
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In the very early AM, when the sky is dark, a friend tosses me an egg. I tuck the egg carefully in position behind the plant-lizard, masked seed bulb, mushroom, fluffpuppy and green lumpy thing and run around in tight circles for a while to give it a start at hatching. Then I go to bed.

When I wake up, the power is out. It takes me another day to get this update finished.

Good morning, everyone. I'm playing Pokemon Omega Ruby, and it's time to Dewford Town. ... do Dew... Dodew... go forward to D... township of Dewforwarding...

We're going into Dewford Town okay. This pun was poorly thought out.
Just get in here. )
It is beautiful and heaven help me, I want to move in. Next time, we'll explore if that's an option. (I am guessing no.)

Friday Five for July 21st

21 Jul 2017 19:01
ersatzkapitaen: Laurence Fox (Fox - Music)
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1. Have you come to the conclusion that your parents music (music popular in their time) isn't so bad?
It's so much better than what's on the market these days, if you ask me. I've lived through the oldie-revival phase in the 90s and I still dig 60s and 70s music.

2. Is there a song/group/singer you once adored, but don't now?
Pet Shop Boys. I loved them - until I saw and most importantly heared a concert-recording on MTV. Obviously Neil Tennant sings just as badly as I do, so the music was only good because of some genius of studio-tech. I might be a fan of him, but no longer of PSB.

3. Is there a song/group/singer you once despised, but is okay now?
Hm. Probably a song or two. Some songs grow on you once you've heard them a couple of times, but I can't think of a specific song right now. Groups or singers usually don't change their style though, so if I don't like their kind of music, chances are high it's going to stay that way and I usually just don't bother with them any further.

4. Have you ever heard a favorite song and suddenly had a reinterpretation its meaning?
While I try to catch the lyrics of songs, I've already despised text-interpretation in school, so I don't do it voluntarily with songs. I often have "aha" moments when I finally understand the words of the lyrics that I misunderstood for years. Suddenly lyrics make sense, but that's just a matter of pronunciation and understandability of the words, not interpretation.

5. What song would you just as soon never hear again?
Oh, there are a couple. This weird Alalalalalong song (was a huge summer hit some years back) is one of them. Also "Ein Stern, der Deinen Namen trägt". Yes, there are a couple of songs that fit this criteria. I always turn off the sound when they come up on the radio.

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So! Remember when I said this:

"It is while doing this gym that Mint starts trying to evolve. I have JUST ENOUGH Pokemon knowledge to whap the B button a couple times and stop him. If I don't evolve him, he'll learn a cool move. I'll explain why in a different post, it's not just that I want him small and cute forever, I promise."

...in today's post? Well, we're at that different post now.
This is a sidebar, and you can skip it but I think it's interesting. )
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When we left Lime, she was parked outside Rustboro City. In we go!
The adventure continues. )
With that it's back to zip across the sea to Dewford Town, which is where we'll pick up next time. Please look forward to it!
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Last time, we got things off and rolling and I was a bit surprised by the narrative structure of this particular game. By which I mean - so far there isn't much of one. By now in Pokemon Y we had been introduced to some distinct characters and given a heartwarming speech or two about free will from Professor Hug-Me.

Maybe we'll get a speech and/or a hug later. I've never played original Ruby, Sapphire, or Emerald. I dunno any specifics about what's coming.

Onward. )
See you next time, as Lime and Mint challenge their first gym. Are they prepared? Ahahaha I have no idea.
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Greetings, loved ones. As you may be aware I recently climbed into a bright yellow bucket and rode it down a deep dark pit into Pokemon Hell, which is where certain kinds of adults go when they are bad and another very different kind of adults go when they are on vacation.

I am the latter.

I figure... I'm back in the fandom hard. I installed the Collectable Card Game client on my PC and I've been muddling with that some against the AI. I've been glancing thoughtfully at the anime. I've even considered looking up some scans of Pokemon Special, AKA "That manga where everything is batshit insane".

Y'all have no idea how long I have spent looking up fanart of SPECIFIC SCENES in PMD: Explorers of Sky on like Pixiv or whatever and just letting my excess empathy splash down my face in the form of SOBBING AND WHIMPERING.

It's time for me to just go ahead, relax, and do another Pokemon playblog. Sorry guys. Pokemon Hell demands my sacrifice.

I always say I'm gonna keep these blogs short and then blurting out like the entire life history of random NPCs, but I really am gonna TRY to do a fairly low-effort cruise through my game of choice: Pokemon Omega Ruby. (SPOILER FROM THE FUTURE: I failed in the first entry, but maybe I'll shut up more as time goes on.)

Good friend of sqrls Alicia gifted me Pokemon Moon recently and I DO need to play through that (hopefully before Ultra Sun/Moon come out) but I haven't done Omega Ruby yet and it's been on the shelf long enough. (I hadn't even broken the plastic before now.)

If you're not familiar with it, Omega Ruby is the remake of "Pokemon Ruby", which was the start of Generation 3 of Pokemon. I have no strong feelings about generations. I love all the pokemon, even gloriously ridiculous ones like Honchkrow have a place in my heart.

That said, this one was made after the focus of my previous gameblog, Pokemon Y and so contains data for every little monster that was in THAT game. I could drop some Pokemon into Y via the Bank application, breed myself up a small army, drop the eggs to whoever I end up playing in OR and go through the game with a ridiculous team.

(Incidentally, remember I was surprised about 92 hours in PMD: Explorers? Try 130-ish hours in Pokemon Y. This series, guys, geez.)

Will I? I do not know. I'm really open to anything here, I'm just looking to have a good time. That's what Pokemon is for, isn't it? Still, a journey of a thousand scampering little creatures begins with a single step. Now that I've yammered for like a page and a half...
Let's get started. )
NOW IS THE BEGINNING OF A FANTASTIC JOURNEY -- I'm really looking forward to it. We'll see if I can keep my notes any shorter next time. Sorry, everybody!
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Oh where do I even start...

Explorers of Sky is another in the Mystery Dungeon series, so you can expect a nigh-fetishistic focus on exploring randomly generated dungeons populated with dangerous pokemon. Your character is a member of a guild of explorers, adventurers who sally into the unknown to discover new lands or chase down outlaws normal pokemon are too distressed or weak to deal with. As hybrid defenders of justice and mappers of the realm, you'll be shuttled around from dungeon to dungeon, recruiting new pokemon and collecting items to help you survive.

I chose to name my partner-to-be "Wattson", as he was a Shinx, an electric-type pokemon. Ahaha it is a joke. And then, running with it, I chose "Sqrllock" as my Eevee stand-in's name and we became Team Deduction.

By the end of the game I was treating these two like a married couple and the game was doing NOTHING to put me off the idea. Actual Sherlock shippers would be side-eyeing me like "Whoa there dial it back a couple ticks?" but NO I WILL NOT. Horrible plot things would happen and these two little fluffs would assure each other that they cared for one another and would never give up or surrender, never let a moment of doubt come between them. I mean, geez, normally I would be off drooling over other pokemon because I'm a goddamn furry but in this particular case no. Aside from one special guest star who stole my heart and a trio of charming explorers I was faithful to my chosen partner the whole way through the game.

Also, the Mystery Dungeon series is where you go to get punched in the heart by masters of the Emotional Heart-Punch Combat School of Creative Writing. If I wasn't breaking down in heaving great emotional sobs at some tragic twist of fate I was getting all teary-eyed over the Power of Friendship. There are lines in here I'll never forget, the context around them is too meaningful, too powerful.

"It's just not possible for either of you to be unwanted in this world."

I'm sorry, I broke like glass.

*ahem*
Now, all that said...

I spent -ninety two hours- on this game.

I don't DO THAT.

Like, unless it's an MMO or something, I am usually OUT by hour 30 or 40. So I was SUCKED IN. You know why I stopped playing it, after 92 hours? Because I have ordered the sequel, Pokemon Super Mystery Dungeon, and I want to play THAT without suffering burnout. I am so hungry for this game I bought a second game to keep gorging myself on.

Maybe it's a sign that I am a jumbo-sized baby person, I don't know. What I do know is I desperately needed this game. I needed it to exist and I needed to play it.

(Also, now that I've read her post, Celine wrote something very similar to what I did when SHE finished it. Makes sense since we talked the HELL out of this game on IM. Like, hours and hours of picky scene-by-scene analysis. If I have become trashy fandom sludge it is her fault.)

This game reignited my Pokemon spirit. Expect to see a lot more Pokemon for a while -- I am seriously considering an Omega Ruby gameblog.
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