Feralia.net blog. episode 118: my wish list for the next Nintendo Switch model

I love the Nintendo Switch! (As if that wasn’t obvious :p ) I’ve had a ton of fun with the many great games, both solo and with family, and am super excited for what’s to come. I’ve had a blast with most of Nintendo’s home consoles, but honestly this is the most fun I’ve had with one in years.

There’s been a lot of talk of Nintendo releasing a “Switch Pro,” and while I adore the Switch, there are a few things I’m hopeful that will be added with the next model. Some are pretty likely while others are probably a long shot, but here they are:

Faster and easier eShop browsing

One of the places where Nintendo lags behind other consoles is the eShop. Making it faster and easier to navigate would be a plus.

Improved battery life

The battery life on my original model Switch really isn’t good. My wife’s Switch Lite did seem to improve upon that, but it’s still not amazing. I’d like to see it at least rival the battery life of the PSVita, which has been much better for me.

The return of the Wii/3DS eShop library

I know, this is the biggest longshot, but the catalog of the previous eShop games were AMAZING. Not only for classic Nintendo consoles, but arcade, Neo-Geo and others! I totally get the online bonuses to encourage people to sign up, but it would be a nice option to purchase them as well.

DS and 3DS games on the eShop

Along with the previous one, this would be an amazing addition to add to the hybrid console, but again, this one’s a long shot, and maybe not even realistic, as I have no idea how they’d incorporate the dual screens.

Better games prices on “old” games

I love the fact that we’re getting so many games on the Switch that were only available on other consoles at first, but buying a game for $50 or $60 when other consoles have game of the year additions for $20. I totally get that porting them over takes time and money, but this is another thing on the wish list for me.

Bluetooth support

Music and sound are a big part of games for me, and going cordless without having to buy a third party device would be a big plus.

So these are my hopeful additions for the next Nintendo Switch model. What are yours? Hopefully we’ll find out more on Nintendo’s pre E3 presentation next week!

-Clint

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Feralia.net blog. episode 117: X-Men Reading Project – Final Update

It took me about a year and a half but I’ve caught up on most of the major storylines of everyone’s favorite merry mutants. My X-Men Reading Project can be found here, and covers most of the big stories from 1975 to 2012 in order of release, then a list of the main titles through 2012-2018, ending with an intro to 2019-2020 with Dawn of X. It’s been a blast, and while there are some missing stories here and there, I feel confident that I can continue to stay current without fear of important spoilers.

The current era of X-Men (House of X/Powers of X, Dawn of X, the X of Swords Crossover and Reign of X) has been a lot of fun and I look forward to keeping up with the X-Men from here on out.

And who knows what the Marvel Cinematic Universe will bring?

I leave you with my favorite cover of this new era of X-Men. Written by Jonathan Hickman, this is a beautiful variant cover by Stanley Artgerm Lau (whose amazing work you should check out!).

©Marvel, Stanley Artgerm Lau

-Clint

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Feralia.net blog. episode 116: Writing update for May 2021

Just wanted to do a quick writing update! As I mentioned earlier, the past year I was pretty much in a slump creatively. Recently I have been motivated however, making progress, and it’s been great. Unfortunately I’m going to have to push back my release target for Feralia Book 3 from Spring 2021 to TBA. I’m hopeful to still set a new goal for this year once I get more completed.

As always, thanks so much for sticking with me! I feel like Book 3, while a more challenging story to write than 1 & 2, will be the best yet and I can wait to share it with you!

-Clint

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Feralia.net blog. episode 115: The music that got me through 2020

Since I mentioned it in a recent entry I thought it would be cool to feature my favorite music of 2020, especially because 2021 is nearly half over! You’ve got to quit procrastinating some time, right? 😉

As has been mentioned by me here in the blog and pretty much everyone else, 2020 sucked over all. But in line with my recent theme of finding the positives in the year, I wanted to feature these albums and songs which helped me forget about the bad and find some joy.

Stabbing Westward

2020 saw not only the release of the first new music from Stabbing Westward since 2001, but a surprise ep as well! New music from my favorite band was truly special!

Sylvan Esso

What better theme to focus on in 2020 than love? Ferris Wheel was my song of the summer, which I’ll always look back on lovingly. The entire album, Free Love, came out a few months later and has been one of my favorites ever since.

Lady Gaga

While Sylvan Esso gets the song of the year, Chromatica was released in May, just in time to become my album of the summer. The timing was great and was the perfect soundtrack to weekends at home with the family while in quarantine, in the pool, grilling, and enjoying each other’s company.

Fiona Apple

Fiona’s album, for me personally, is her lightest and most fun album yet, delightfully weird at times, it was one of me favorite releases of 2020. And I love the cover – it’s so silly, derpy and adorable!

Puscifer

“Concrete conclusions
be damned
they won’t listen
until it’s far
too late”

The lead single, Apocalyptical, was the perfect song at the perfect time, providing a stark, yet accurate view at much of the population that continues to ring true (be dumb, be damned) while maintaining the bands trademark weirdness. Speaking of weird, the rest of the album, Existential Reckoning, continues to take you further down the rabbit hole musically with great videos adding to a fun and odd experience.

Run the Jewels

Another timely album. Though it was recorded before the chaos that was engulfing America during its June 2020 release, RTJ4 couldn’t have come at a better time, painting a detailed picture of everything going on at the time.

-Clint

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Feralia.net blog. episode 114: Learning a bit about T-Cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia

In the last entry I talked about my nephew Rex’s recent and sudden diagnosis with T-Cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. I personally didn’t know much about it at all. I was somewhat familiar with the basics of Leukemia, but little beyond that, and especially little about different types.

The night I received a phone call with the news of Rex being taken to the hospital I knew so little. Because I knew so little, I didn’t even know if he would make it through that first night. I stayed up until the early morning hours, searching for any information I could find. But because a diagnosis hadn’t been made, there was no way to know what type of Leukemia he was dealing with.

Thankfully, as I mentioned previously, Rex is doing an amazing job fighting and staying strong despite treatments which are extremely taxing. I’ve learned much more about not only the disease, but a few helpful organizations and resources as well, which I wanted to share.

First up is the amazing Children’s National Hospital, in Washington DC, where they’ve taken amazing care of my nephew. They’re one of the leading hospitals in the US in childhood cancers. You can learn more about their pediatric cancer here.

Next up is a wonderful organization which has been extremely helpful to Rex and his family. Travel to and from the hospital is over an hour, adding added exhaustion on top of the already stressful situation. Thankfully, Ronald McDonald House has been a great help, providing accommodations for the family super close to the hospital!

Lastly, if you’re like I was, you’ve heard of Leukemia many times but may not know many details. There are a lot of different types of Leukemia with different aspects. This can be really overwhelming before an exact diagnosis is made. One of the scariest parts, for me as at least, was the period at the beginning – just not knowing was awful. A good resource for reading up on things is The American Cancer Society. They have a lot of info on not only T-Cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia but the many other kinds as well, along with other valuable resources.

I’ve you or someone you know has been affected by Leukemia, these links will hopefully provide a bit of help.

-Clint

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Feralia.net blog. episode 113: Rally for Rex!

Earlier this year my family and I learned the devastating news that my nephew Rex had been diagnosed with T-Cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. It was a blow to us all, especially to his loving mother, father and brother. Personally I found it extremely hard to come to terms with, finding myself in disbelief for days before everything set in and caught up with me, which was deeply saddening.

Things haven’t been easy, but Rex has fought so hard and overcome so much! His treatments have been absolutely exhausting. I can’t imagine going through anything like this at 8 years old. Overall though, things have been looking better. After the initial emergency admission and hospital stay of nearly a month, he was able to return home. He still makes trips to the hospital for days at a time and has treatments at home many days. He has a long road ahead (likely up to a couple of years at least), but I’m confident he’ll continue to fight and grow stronger until he’s beaten this.

Along the way, the support has been overwhelming. Especially for his parents, but even for me as well, as many of my friends who don’t even know Rex outside of Facebook took the time to send kind words, prayers and even donations which have all helped out tremendously.

Thanks again to all of you!!

Rex even got a Tweet from Mark Hamill and a letter from Lin-Manuel Miranda showing their support, which was super special as well!

Rex’s GoFundMe page can be found here, which we’re updating as things progress.

Rex currently is making an unexpected stay in the hospital, but we’re hopeful he’ll be back home within a week.

Love you, Rex!!

In my next entry I’ll talk a bit more about T-Cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia and post a few resources.

-Clint

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Feralia.net blog. episode 112: Focusing on the positives of 2020

I wanted to quickly move on to this entry since the last one was a lot of gloom and doom. Most of us would agree that 2020 sucked. But we got through it. Were there things that helped get you through? These are the things that were bright spots in a dark time for me…

Family First and foremost, with a world that felt like it was spiraling around me, I’ve been able to have more family time, which has been amazing, drawing us even closer together than ever while making it even more plain to see that this is what’s most important.

Friends This one is very important too, going right along with family. Over the past year I’ve been able to see which people are truly kind, loving and supportive not only among friends but to all those around them as well, while weeding out any who are not. There’s a lot of talk of cutting toxic elements out of your life, and I’ll agree that it’s healthy to do so! My friends are amazing and I’m lucky to have them.

Music I’ll leave this mostly to a future entry, because it’ll be a fun feature on its own, but there was some really great music that lifted my spirits released over 2020, helping me stay distracted from the awful things in the world.

Video games I think this was true for a ton of other people as well, Animal Crossing alone helped many of us have something fun to do and connect with friends while in quarantine.

Traveling and vacationing safely After we were sure we could do so safely, we were able to get out of the house a few times and safely enjoy nature and family, making some of the best memories in my life!

Movies One thing I did a lot of was watch a bunch of movies I’d been wanting to see, both new and old. This is probably a good one for another entry as well, but it was great to focus on things fun, fantastic and weird rather than reality during 2020.

Good people There were some wonderful people who spoke out for what was right and called out what wasn’t in 2020, using their audience for the positive! I won’t name names at the moment, but they were a blessing.

So, while I didn’t have a creative 2020, I did have positive aspects, which made the year memorable not only for the bad, but for the unique and happy parts.

Let me know what good there was for you in the comments here or on Facebook!

-Clint

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Feralia.net blog. episode 111: The first post in five months!

Hey everyone! Sorry it’s been so long since my last update! Things are well personally, as the pandemic has allowed me to spend more time at home with my family, which I’ve cherished.

On the creative side, things haven’t been so good. Outside of home, 2020 was awful, and parts of this year haven’t been so great either. Honestly, it’s taken the wind out of my sails creatively.

Early 2020, of course, saw the onset of the covid-19 pandemic. Though it was first identified in 2019, 2020 was when we really began to be affected greatly by it.

On a personal note, in April 2020 came news of the tragic death of a close friend. I’ve had a year to grieve, but that hole will always be there.

As the year went on, all of us were affected by the coronavirus, whether through jobs closing down, the loss of loved ones to the disease, and other negative effects on daily life.

For me, and many of you, one of the worst parts of the year was the division in the US. Note: this is not a political statement, rather my own feelings on the world around me. As the covid-19 related death toll rose (as of this writing it stands at 586,545 in the United States and 3,392,840 worldwide), so did the unkindness to people who took the disease seriously. Many people called the scientifically backed crisis as some conspiracy, criticizing and belittling others for following health guidelines such as social distancing and wearing a mask.

In general, it seemed to me that unkindness on the internet continued to grow worse, as people while safe behind a screen spewed more and more hate. It was not only for those following health guidelines, but for people of different colors and races, different genders or lifestyles, and more.

I was brought to tears at the events that led up to the Black Lives Matter movement, and more so at the backlash against it. To see people on my own friends lists (now formerly) making awful comments at a time when we should be loving, was truly disheartening.

For a number of years I felt like there was a good vibe here in the US, that being kind to and accepting of everyone was thought of by the majority as the acceptable way to be. Events over recent years, especially 2020, however, have revealed a deep-seated rift that was present all along. Now it merely has a voice. To see people who proudly claim to love God not only turning a blind eye to major issues (even insisting they themselves are the ones being mistreated despite their obvious privilege), embracing violence, and being intolerant to anyone unlike themselves has been more cause for depression than inspiration.

So, what should have been months with plenty of time for creation proved unproductive over all, for me at least. I have gotten a few important and challenging chapters finished over this time though, which is something, and recently I’ve been able to come out of it a bit, for reasons I’ll get into in my next entry (since this one has grown so long), focusing on finding the good parts of the previous year and getting inspired to create!

-Clint

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Feralia.net blog. episode 110: John the Swamp Dude – The Last Outpost #1 – Review

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John the Swamp Dude: The Last Outpost #1 ©2020 PLB Comics

Last December I did a review of a comic I really enjoyed, John the Swamp Dude: Who Killed Mobie Graye? (Has it really been a year already??) This time I was lucky enough to get an advance copy of the first issue in the next storyline, The Last Outpost, by Josh Shockley (story, pencils & inks) and James Dufendach (letters and edits) once again. This is the twenty-first release by PLB Comics

Once again I enjoyed the artwork. I always love getting to read a black and white comic. It’s a refreshing change. The character design is great, and I’d say even improved upon the work in the previous release. Another thing I always like are the Shockley’s backgrounds. Some of the shading and lines are so great, providing a perfect backdrop for the characters and story.

Speaking of the story (I’ll stay spoiler-free as usual), this was probably my favorite thing about the issue. In particular, the world-building is super deep and well thought out. Things in this world aren’t spelled out for you – rather, bits and pieces fit together over the course of the story to gradually paint a picture of the fantastic environment.

The Last Outpost is a 4 part story that you can jump right into, although having read Who Killed Mobie Graye? beforehand will definitely set the tone. Also there are some refences to it in The Last Outpost which I was glad to known ahead of time, since they tie things together nicely. The comic has some strong content (language & fighting) meant for a mature audience, so keep that in case you’re shopping for younger readers. The issue is available now.

5/5

Check out PLB Comics here.

-Clint

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Feralia.net blog. episode 109: my Stabbing Westward collection

In keeping with the music theme, I decided to do a feature on my favorite band of all-time, Stabbing Westward. This one won’t be a review (though their music is amazing), but will focus on all the SW related stuff I’ve collected over the years. I’ve been wanting to do this for forever and it’s been really fun putting everything together!

I thought it would be appropriate to start with the music…

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Iwo Jesus EP Rerelease on vinyl
This is actually one of the newer releases, but since it’s a reissue of the original EP (which came out before any of the albums) I decided to list it first chronologically. I was super excited about having this since I’d always wanted to own Iwo Jesus but could never find a copy.

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Ungod (1994)
The album that started it all for me. I’d never heard anything quite like it and it’s been an inspiration creatively for me since I first discovered it.

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Wither Blister Burn + Peel (Advance CD, 1996)
I was super lucky to find this one. This was one instance when it paid to be a good customer at a local small record store and spend lots of time chatting with the owner.

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Wither Blister Burn + Peel (1996)
I don’t know if I’d ever been more excited for a record release after dicovering the band with Ungod. And it didn’t disappoint!

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Darkest Days (Advance CD)
Another perk of being friends with awesome people at my favorite local record shop back in the day!

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Darkest Days (1998) – Signed
I was lucky enough to get this one signed at a SW show.

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Self Titled Album (2001)
Little did we know that this would be the last release for some time!

Dead and Gone

Dead and Gone (2020) – Digital
The one glaring flaw in my collection is that I missed out on both the first and second printing of this release! I got too caught up with work and other stuff and wasn’t paying close attention enough to social media. I hope to eventually purchase one. I do have the digital release, however, which is so great! It was so exciting to have new music from SW!

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Hallowed Hymns (2020) – CD with signed Burn card
After missing out on the physical release of Dead and Gone there was no way I was going to miss this one. The signed card was such a nice inclusion and very thoughtful of the guys! This was a suprise release that came at such a great time during an awful year and really lifted my spirits.

Up next are some posters and art…

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Ungod album flat
I always called these ‘album flats’ but I have no idea if that’s official. They are square posters on nice, thick and glossy card stock. I forgot to measure them when I pulled them out today, but I’m guessing they’re around 14″ or so square. (I’ll try to remember to get a measurement.)

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Wither Blister Burn + Peel album flat
Like the previous item, this is a square, double-sided poster for hanging in record stores.

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Large poster from Wither Blister Burn + Peel era
This hung on my wall for a long time and is patiently awaiting the day I have room for a devoted area to display it once again. Thankfully I’ve managed to keep it in decent shape.

On to concert stuff!

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Set list, signed, from my first SW show – Pittsburgh, 1998
After an amazing show (still one of my favorites to this day), I was able to get a set list used on stage and was also able to get it signed. That was the first time I got to meet a band member and each one I’ve had the opportunity to meet has been down to earth and incredibly kind. This was on the tour supporting Wither Blister Burn + Peel.

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Club poster, signed, also from my first SW show – Pittsburgh. 1998
Also managed to get this and have it signed at the same show as the above set list. The perfect end to an amazing experience. There’s a little bit of damage from the tape which was used to tape it to the wall of the club, but that gives it character. 😉

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Ticket from that same SW show – April 1996
If I remember right, it was actually the band Rust who opened. I remember grabbing their album on my next trip to the record store.

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Ticket from the New Rock Revolt, signed – Pittsburgh, April 1996
Got to talk with 3 band members after their set, again, all were super nice and so appreciative of us fans. …As for this legendary concert itself, SW was as great as usual, but the show was absolutely insane, with a ton of bands and a crazy story to go with it! I really need to do a blog entry on this show!

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Ticket from Pittsburgh show, September 1998
Another fantastic show, this one supporting Darkest Days.

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Ticket from next Pittsburgh show, February, 1999
Super cold night and went by myself, but it was so worth it!!

I also have a couple tickets from other shows which I couldn’t find for this entry. Hopefully I’ll find them later and be able to add them here.

Lastly are my few items of SW clothing…

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Shirt from the anniversary of Darkest Days
I haven’t worn it yet so I can keep it in perfect shape, but I probably would for a special occasion.

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SW logo shirt
Like the above shirt, this one is unworn and in perfect shape.

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SW logo patch
Part of me wants to keep this one as it is, in good condition. But I recently got a vest for all my band patches, where I will wear it proudly. 🙂

Update – added 12/30/20

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Postcard from the band.
Can’t believe I forgot this one! Got this in the mail after sending a letter to the band… Yes, I was that nerd who wrote to bands, lol. This was such a great surprise and the first news I’d heard about the release of Darkest Days!

Update – 2 items added 9/30/21

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Lies, CD Single (1994)
I’m normally not into collecting singles if I have the entire album, but for this one I had to make an exception, as it was the first SW song I heard.

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Promotional Magazine Ad for Ungod
I couldn’t pass this one up either. I like how it’s a black and white version of the cover art with a red font and border. Also, the UK show listings are cool!

That’s everything for now, but I hope to continue to add to it, especially with the new album coming in 2021! I can’t wait to hear it!

-Clint

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