Monthly Archives: October 2015

Internet Story: My Favorite Creepypasta

Several years ago, my friend and I watched a whole bunch of Creepypasta films and stories on Halloween and were delightfully creeped out by the majority of them.  They ranged from the Russian Sleep Experiment to Ben Drowned.  Ben Drowned certainly creeped me out and gave me constant shivers down my spine.  However, the problem with tackling Creepypasta stories altogether is that you eliminate that doubt the hangs around in the back of your head.  You know these tales aren’t true simply because people have gone out of their way to debunk them and you are reading them all on a Creepypasta page.

So one year later, while I was doing research at the library, one of my Facebook friends posted a link (see below) on his wall and commented on its weird and chilling nature.  So I clicked on the link and sat back and watched it.

The video starts with a calm and stoic voice that introduces you to a story of a man who has hid quite a bit of money somewhere in Great Britain.  The content of the video, as it divulges information, strikes a healthy balance between seriousness and dark comedy that does not outright seem farfetched or outlandish.  I myself related to the video as I had by then hosted two riddle challenges for my friends where I hid a prize somewhere in my hometown.

The introduction of Fortress is another convincing piece of evidence for this video’s authenticity.  Although Fortress may have been a bit over the top, the use of old Youtube footage from 2005 sparks this degree of believability as by the time the video was released, this was six years ago and Youtube had gone though many major overhauls to its structure (such as the “star rating” system).  What’s more, our memories are untrustworthy so when we see old footage like this, we may lead towards video credibility if we are pushed justly in that direction.

Then we get the Pardoner’s Tale flash animation story.  Not only is the story delightful and creepy, it is well made and delivered.  This again lends credibility towards the video’s story on this riddle challenge.  If someone wanted to properly showcase an almost forgotten story on the internet, they would make sure to deliver quality services to its inquisitive viewers.

As the video continues, we return back to Fortress’ attempts to solve the puzzles.  The puzzles are hard but Fortress, along with his amateur video quality, takes us through his thinking process and finds the puzzles ones by one.  However, the video quietly takes a dark tone and this creepy music, similar in style to the movie It Follows, slowly seeps into the video and I can’t help but get these chills along my spine as the narrator’s voice just suddenly turns me off even though he barely changed his disposition.  And oh God that reveal at the end with the yellow letters just pushed it into uncomfortable territory.  But what really seals it for me is that creepy photograph at the end with the article about the dead body and the mystery of the unidentified person.  Fuck, no matter how many times I watch the video I still get these horrible chills from it.

So when the video ended, I had to check it out if it was real and, truth be told, it took me awhile to figure out that this was fake.  But here, I have to say, the video’s believability combined with its intriguing storyline, makes this my favorite Creepypasta story.  You see, I wasn’t watching this video during Halloween or actively looking for a video like it, it fell upon my lap most innocently and from there, I believed it, even if it was only for a few minutes.  That’s what makes a great Creepypasta, the ability to deceive while at the same time make you as uncomfortable as possible.

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The Pokemon Riddle Challenge

So last year, I talked about the Seven Deadly Sins Riddle Challenge that I gave to my friends on my 21st birthday.  I basically challenged my friends to solve seven riddles with each riddle based on  one of the Seven Deadly Sins.  If you solved all seven riddles then I rewarded you with a prize.  When everyone wanted a sequel, I decided to rehost the challenge again on my 22nd birthday but this time, with a little extra flair.  As you can guess from the title, that year’s Riddle Challenge theme was based on Pokémon and this one was really cool in my opinion.

In total, there were eight riddles, representing the eight gyms, and each riddle was based on a Pokémon type.  So for instance, a riddle that took place in a nearby state park was the Forest Badge and it represented Grass Type.

Now, this Pokémon-themed challenge would have been fine with just the badges but I had to take it one step further and make this challenge different from the previous year.  In this case, I printed out Pokémon cards that everyone would have.  These Pokémon (Gallade for instance) knew two attacks (Ice Punch and Psycho Cut) which the competitor could use against the badges.  If the competitor was stuck on a riddle and everyone else had already solved their riddle, they could use their Pokémon and bypass the badge to the next riddle.  There are three catches to this though; one, you can only use moves that are super effective against the badge (Gallade uses Ice Punch on the Forest Badge for instance), two, your Pokémon is used up and can’t be used anymore, and three, the final cash prize is cut by half.  I liked the cards so much I even made one for myself to join in the fun (mine was Porygon2).  It was great because so many people got attached to their Pokémon and did not want to use it up even when they were stuck on their riddle (one of my friends was so excited when he got Garbodor while another was confused what the hell a Hippowdon was).  I liked that.  Once I passed out a Pokémon to everyone at my 22nd birthday party, I talked about the usual rules and the first riddle to the challenge.

Unfortunately, I can’t find the original card which makes me very sad. I love Porygon2 and it’s among my favorite Pokemon. It had the moves Thunderbolt and Ice Beam. Image from http://bulbapedia.bulbagarden.net/wiki/Porygon2_(Pok%C3%A9mon)

Unfortunately, I do not remember all of the Pokémon riddles and the original file that had all of them I think I lost when my old computer crashed on me.  Nonetheless, here are the ones I remembered along with a few in their original state (which you can try at home if you want!).

Badges

Metamorphous Badge-Bug Type.  Here is the riddle in its original form.

“I am famous.

Or do you not know?

Do I have to take you on a wondrous, whimsical trip, in order for you to understand?  I have given you all an invitation to this event and you came with no hesitation.

I am the son of four men!

Certainly, that idiot up there on that pile of dirt understands perfectly clear.  People don’t particularly adore the idiot but he sees the celestial body setting on the horizon and even his own two pupils!  He sees the Earth revolve around its axis.  Revolve, revolve, revolve.

I contain many stories of all sorts, both good memories and bad ones as well.

It has always been my dream to be an author.  But what should I write?  When I figure out, can I give you a sample of it?  It should be good!  True, it is about as long as War and Peace but I think you would like it!

I know my dads’ lives quite well, from their innocent beginnings to their climatic end.

There’s a girl that I adore, how I love her, how I need her!  But alas, she’s too fat.

My favorite numbers are five and six!

What’s that from afar?  It looks like a whole bunch of single people!  They haven’t been in a relationship in a while so they’re kind of sad.  Emily was one of them, that’s why no one showed up to her funeral.

Don’t you know who I am?

I am Humpty Dumpty!

 

Where can you find me?  Well, for starters, my neighbor is Earth!  I’m at a place where the host is a crazy addict whose a bit of a dork.  I hold your riddle!  Come and find me!”

­The answer to this riddle?  The Beetles!  The riddle was hid in the Magical Mystery Tour album in a record store.

Granite Badge-Rock Type.  Pretty standard, this riddle was located in the geology building on campus.  I used the student lounge room and hid it in one of the never-used drawers.  The riddle was a series of codes and letters that filled out the location of the riddle (address, room number, drawer number, etc.)

Forest Badge-Grass Type.  Mentioned this one before but this one was more of a challenge than a riddle as it depended on the first 8 out of 10 people to find the riddle.  The riddle was a simple word game and the trainer had to guess what grass-type Pokémon the words spell out.

Spectre Badge-Ghost Type.  One of my favorite, and most longwinded, of the riddles!  The trainer is given five names, arranged in a pentagram, and that’s it.  The five names are actually tombstones in a local cemetery and the five names surround a tombstone of a person whom a campus library was named after.  I placed a flower basket on that tombstone and it had a code which took the trainer to a book in the said library, inside the book was the next riddle (the book btw, was Legend of the Sleepy Hollow).

Stratigraphic Badge-Ground Type.  The last of the eight riddles, the trainer was simply given the phrase “TM28” along with six Pokémon.  The Pokémon represented latitudinal and longitudinal coordinates based on their pokedex number and “TM28” is the Pokémon move, Dig.  The trainer had to go to this spot and dig up the treasure.

Freedom Badge-Flying Type.  I actually have the original riddle right here “Follow, from beginning to end, the flight of the Jayhawk and on its doorsteps you will find the next riddle.”

The University of Kansas has a lot of Jayhawks, but this riddle talks about our mascot’s evolution which can be seen on the Union Floor.  If you follow their path, you are taken to the doorsteps of the Art Museum which is where I hid the next riddle.

This was the best image I could find on the internet that had the floor….so yeah…storm troopers! Anyway, you can see one of the jayhawks where they are standing. Image from http://www.kualumni.org/tag/kansas-union/

Antidote Badge-Poison Type.  Finally, we get to the Antidote Badge, maybe my actual favorite riddle of the eight.  In this challenge, instead of trainers trying to find a riddle, they are trying to solve a logic puzzle as seen below.  I’ll set out the rules and guidelines, but basically there are nine potions but only one of them is the antidote. You have to drink the antidote (with some exceptions) to move on.  Trainers have to tell me which potion they drink in person and I tell them if they drank the antidote or a poison.  Take a look

Poison Table 2

“Explanation:

There are nine potions in total and they are laid out in the table in front of you as seen in the diagram above.  6 of the potions are poisonous and will kill you instantly (these potions are known as the “Regulars”).  1 is the Antidote which allows you to go on to the next riddle if you choose to drink it.  1 is the Slow Poison which allows you 15 seconds to live before you die.  Finally, 1 is the Sacrifice Potion; the Sacrifice Potion gives you two options, either forfeit your Pokemon or choose another competitor to die in your place.  Either option will allow you to move on to the next riddle.

The Slow Poison is special in that you’re given the chance to correct your mistake by either A. drink the Antidote/Sacrifice Potion or B. use your Pokemon to save you from your error.  You are only given 15 seconds to decide though.

All nine potions have two statements that will help you determine which of them is the Antidote.  However, one of their statements is false and the other is true.  It is thus your duty to sort out the truths from the lies and narrow the selection down.

Some of the statements may seem confusing to this paragraph sorts out any inquires you may have.

  • For example, Green’s first statement is “The Slow Potion is not below me or to my right,” therefore, if this was true then the Slow Potion is not Blue, Purple or Brown. If this was false then the Slow Potion is either Blue, Purple or Brown.
  • “Rows” are the horizontal layers.
  • For other statements that mention several potions at once you will have to think carefully on. For example, Yellow’s second statement is “For Red, Blue, Green and Black.  All but one is a ‘Regular’.” If this was true then one of the four potions would be a special potion (the Antidote, the Slow Poison or the Sacrifice Potion) and the rest would be “Regulars.”  If this statement was false then it could be that more than one of them was a special potion or maybe none of them was a special potion.
  • Primary Colors are Red, Blue, Yellow. Secondary Colors are Green, Purple and Orange.”

I was later told by my friends that there are actually two solutions to this puzzle, whoops!  But that’s okay, this was my first shot in making a puzzle like this and it was fuuuuuuun.  I really liked this one because the trainer can be a dick if he or she wanted and kill someone else with the poison so they could eliminate competition.  No one did that, of course, but I figured I would throw it in.  I enjoy this riddle so see if you can figure it out!

In the end, this challenge was a lot of fun and my friends and I enjoyed it a lot.  I didn’t do another Birthday Riddle Challenge after this as I was kind of burnt out on riddles but still, it was great and I had a splendid time.

Podigious! A satisfying, critically thoughtful podcast about Digimon

Disclaimer: Podigious! briefly referenced my blog on one of their episodes which was awesome.  In critically reviewing this podcast, I’ll try to be as unbiased as possible.

Review Summary: Podigious! is a Digimon podcast which critically reviews the entire animated series, arc by arc, and analyzes various aspects of the show.  The hosts’ great chemistry and contrasting personalities liven a podcast that would otherwise be bogged down by its own geeky fandom.  Unfortunately, the fan feedback and Digimon news update that accompanies the beginning of each episode can drag on but luckily, you can easily skip that section and jump into the episode’s stronger portions of engaging debate.  If you cannot deal with people both positively and negatively critiquing Digimon then you should move on.  But if you can realize that not everything in our childhood was perfect then you’ll have a pleasant time listening to this “interesting” podcast.

Full Summary: I’ve listened to Podigious! for more than a year now but it wasn’t until the past few months that I have been able to (mostly) catch up to its latest episode.  I mainly listen to podcasts in the car and since I have done a lot of driving this summer and fall, I was able to burn through episodes rather quickly.  In doing so, I have become rather familiar to the show as if the hosts, Jeff, Ashley, Asher, and Andrew, were right there in the car with me, talking about Digimon while I silently listen to them.

Podigious! is everything I wanted in a nerdy podcast.  The hosts, particularly Jeff, the ringleader of the podcast, are very earnest in their love for Digimon and want to talk about Digimon simply because they can!  I like that.  What’s more, the episode-by-episode discussion of the Digimon anime series is great as you can jump into any podcast episode you want and listen to certain arcs without missing a beat.  I personally did this when I skipped the Devimon Arc and jumped right into the Etemon Arc and it worked just fine.

Of course, a good podcast needs good hosts and luckily, Podigious has them.

Three of the four hosts are very close to my age and in fact, they went to high school the same year I did as well (and the only reason why I know this is that they talked about when Harry Potter 7 came out in one of their episodes).  Because of their age, I highly, highly, identify them as they have the same Digimon nostalgia factor that affected me as well for these past 15 years.  And that actually plays into a big part of their show as they are critically evaluating the show and trying their best not to have nostalgia cloud their reviewing senses.  Sometimes, they’ll even mention how a particular scene has stuck with them for all these years and their reaction to that same scene may now be different due to a more adult perspective on it.

And it basically works.  The hosts point out certain inconsistencies or problems with the show and offer suggestions on how they could have improved the scene and the plot.  A few that stood out to me was the use of prophecies in season 1, how Yolei should have gotten the Digiegg of Knowledge and Cody should have gotten the Digiegg of Love (mind blown btw), and why in God’s name did Tai give Davis’ his goggles and not Kari or T.K.?  These inconsistencies are great as they point out what could have been on a show that surprisingly stuck to certain tropes passionately.

I don’t know what Jeff looks like so here’s Donald Duck from Kingdom Hearts. Image from http://kingdomhearts.wikia.com/wiki/Gallery:Donald_Duck

Of the four hosts, Jeff is probably the one I identify with most and represents the hardcore nerd in a fandom. Jeff is the like the heart of the show as he edits the episodes, he’s in charge of the discussion topics, and he talks, a lot.  Which is unfortunate as he dominates the conversations, especially in the podcast’s early episodes.  Sometimes, he would go on and on for a particular topic, such as, and especially, real life geography, and the other hosts would only respond minimally.  Luckily, the other hosts have found their voice and have been participating more and more in the episodes which is great.  Jeff has certainly relaxed as the series progressed as he used to be a little more uptight but now he’s kind of taking it more easy for the discussion topics and the “Follow Up” portions of the show.  Also, he should get a Word of the Day calendar.

Again, I don’t know what Ashley looks like so here’s Riley from Inside Out. Image from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3suT-csNs9U

Ashley represents the casual fan of a franchise and let me say, it’s nice to hear her be so verbally confused about certain aspects of Digimon as it sometimes takes a sane person to point out the rather weird and contrived world of Digimon.  She’s definitely been more vocal as the series progressed and it’s nice as she points out the gender B.S. that Digimon portrays.  It’s also funny how she can be just so fed up with Digimon at times, especially towards Kari.  Her playful frustrations towards Jeff also add a light touch to a show that can be bogged down at times by its own geekery.

You get the drill, how about Joe and Gomamon? Image from http://hero.wikia.com/wiki/File:JOE_Kido_%26_Gomamon_(ADVENTURE_51).jpg

Asher represents the shipping fan of a franchise and he is just like Ashley in that he points out Digimon’s gender B.S.  Asher also found his voice fairly early on and, again, like Ashley, talked more as the podcast progressed.  It’s always nice to hear Asher tear down Jeff’s nostalgia-filled world and make Jeff verbally uncomfortable with the stark, and let’s face it, unfair, reality Digimon has towards boys vs. girls.  From what I heard, Asher is the favorite host of the four and I believe it (he’s my favorite too).  Asher’s grounded, and sometimes apathetic, nature, contrasts nicely with Jeff’s enthusiastic and almost intense personality.  Jeff would have notes upon notes detailing certain aspects of an episode and then he would ask Asher what he thought about the episode/topic and Asher would respond that he didn’t write anything down (lol).  His shipping knowledge is very humorous as he would gush over scenes involving Davis/Ken or Matt/Tai.  I know appreciate Davis/Ken pairing more thanks to him.

Gundam! Okay, I’m done. Image from https://sddude.wordpress.com/tag/sd-gundam/page/3/

Unfortunately, Andrew, Asher’s brother, is the weakest of the four hosts.  Briefly mentioned in the podcast’s season 1, he became a part-time host in season 2 and unfortunately, he does not add a lot to the other hosts’ great chemistry.  It seems to me that Andrew barely mentions anything, even when compared to Ashley and Asher’s initially reserved nature, and does not fully pay attention to the conversation at hand.  I wouldn’t mind it as much if he had anything worthwhile to say but a lot of times he would just react awkwardly to the other hosts’ sometimes personal interactions or he would mildly insult Jeff and his nerdy nature.  He is kind of…stiff I want to say?  It doesn’t bode well with the more playful side of this show.  I shouldn’t be too hard on him though as a lot of times, he can contribute to the conversation by incorporating his Japanese and anime knowledge.  His status as a hardcore nerd can match Jeff’s knowledge which is nice that it’s not just Jeff talking in-depth about some esoteric thing about Digimon.

The weakest portion of the show is by far the aforementioned “Follow Up” which is Jeff and Ashely responding to reviewer feedback and questions, talking about Digimon news, and revealing who won the Ridiculous Dialogue Draft (RDD).  This section is at the beginning of almost every episode and man does it drag ooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooon.  This is the part of the episode that I usually let my mind wander.  And, truth be told, the Digimon news update kind of hurts the “timelessness” of the show as the main portion of the podcast episodes focuses on things that happened 15 years ago while the news update tells us things that we already know by now.  Sometimes, this scene from Monty Python and the Holy Grail would play in my head during the Follow Up:

I shouldn’t be too hard on the Follow Up though as you can skip it easily.  It kind of begs the question why I even listen to it in the first place.  Good Question.

I have no reasonable answer.  Maybe I just like hearing Ashley and Jeff talk (it does get lonely in the car at times when you’ve been driving 4+ hours by yourself).  Although, I have to say that it’s nice to hear Jeff and Ashley go out of their way to respond to reviewer feedback and respond to questions viewers may have about the previous episode’s content.

If the Follow Up is the weakest portion then by far the strongest is the RDD that is at the end of every episode and I love it.  God, listening to how…ridiculous…the DUB could be is amazing although I wish they threw in the occasional “touching” line since there can be a few in the show.  Maybe they’ll throw some in when they get into the heart of season 3 cause man, that season is an emotional roller coaster.  Anyway, I appreciate Jeff editing in the original lines of the show and give us the full (no) context it deserves.

The gender studies portion of the show is perhaps the most (in)famous section of the podcast.  Here, emotions can run a little high as the hosts break down Digimon’s less appealing gender aspects.  Ashley, and in particular Asher, go at the show strongly and tear it apart while at the same time offering constructive criticism on how the show could have made it better.  Although the hosts dominantly talk about the role women have on the show, they do occasionally focus on the guys and the show’s conservative take on what it means to be a man.  I admit, I was at first frustrated at listening to Asher and Ashley criticize one of my favorite childhood animated shows but I soon could not help admit that a lot of Digimon’s take on gender is indeed, Bullshit.  It definitely makes the podcast not just a simple fan gushing and instead, treats it like an actual show that has its flaws.  In general, I just love how Asher is so unapologetic about her opinions and it sharply contrasts Jeff’s desire to try and offend the least amount of people as possible.

Also, and on a side note, the hosts sometimes talk about the Legend of Korra and other cartoon shows during the gender segment which is nice as Korra is particularly strong when it comes to gender representation.  One show that they have surprisingly left out of the conversation is Steven Universe and it got to the point that I finally tweeted them and asked if they had seen the show.  I am relieved that they have (that show is great in all aspects of animation, plot, and, of course, gender representation).

This is actually a nice segue to my last point about the podcast in that the hosts are very responsive (well, Jeff is at least, Asher just doesn’t give a shit) to fan feedback.  It actually makes up a large portion of the Follow Up.  Jeff and Ashley respond to feedback whether it’s on twitter, reddit, or itunes.  I like how they bring up critical feedback and admit when they are wrong.  It’s nice for creators, of any kind, to respond to both negative and positive feedback and it shows they are not afraid to change things up and try to constantly improve the show.

As for the future of the show, I’ll definitely continue listen to them for their Tri and Tamers segments but after that, it’s hard to say as I really don’t like Digimon Season 4.  Regardless, Tamers is, and will be, fun to listen to as it’s Jeff’s favorite season and it has a super crazy plot that is neatly combined with its more mature vibe.  I’m hoping for more endless driving so I can become reacquainted with them once again.

Oh yeah, and I’m looking forward to this scene.