Friday, November 16, 2012


Wow. I can't believe how long it's been since I've last updated this blog. Sorry for the lack of updates; I added a new theme to my website called "Desert Rose." It's a Middle Eastern theme. I'm probably going to redo the layout for this blog since I'm not that happy with the way it currently looks.

Also, if you go to the site's entrance page, there's a new flash intro there. I'm currently learning a bit of ActionScript in order to make simple flash banners. Anyways, over and out for now.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Mass Effect 1 - 3

Mass Effect. I love this game....a lot. For those of you who don't know what this game is about, it's a science fiction game set in the year 2148. Here is a bit of information about the back story. Also, if you don't feel like reading the text below, here's a brief explanation of what happens in the game.

You are Commander Shepard, an Alliance soldier aboard the Normandy SR-1 (and later Normandy SR-2 in Mass Effect 2 and 3). Alien beings once believed to be extinct known as Reapers are preparing to wipe out all of civilization -- humans and aliens; your job is to unite the entire galaxy and stop the Reapers from destroying the universe.

Discovery of Mass Effect Physics
In 2148, human explorers on Mars uncovered a long-ruined Prothean observation post, with a surviving data cache that proved Protheans had studied Cro-Magnon humans millennia ago. While religions tried to assimilate this discovery into their doctrine, a global rush began to decipher the petabytes of data from the outpost. Discovering information on a mass relay orbiting Pluto, explorers managed to open the Charon Relay and discovered it led to Arcturus. With the help of the fledgling Systems Alliance, humans expanded to other systems, opening any mass relays they could find.

The First Contact War and Expansion
Humans first came to the attention of the galactic community after a brief but intense conflict with the turians, known by humans as the First Contact War, begun in 2157. The conflict began when the turians attacked a human fleet attempting to activate a dormant mass relay (illegal under Council law) and then occupied the human colony of Shanxi.

Led by Admiral Kastanie Drescher, the Second Fleet then launched a massive counter-attack, which caught the turians by surprise and expelled them from Shanxi. The conflict caught the attention of the Citadel Council, which wasted no time brokering a peace, thus introducing humans to the galactic community. As a consequence of the Alliance's swift and decisive action during the First Contact War, the Alliance became the representative and supranational governing body of humanity. Since then, humans have rapidly risen in prominence.

In 2165, humanity was granted an embassy on the Citadel in recognition of their growing power and influence in the galactic community. The timing of this achievement, less than a decade after first contact, caused some friction with other Citadel races who had waited decades for such recognition.

Humanity continued to expand to unclaimed star systems on the edge of Citadel space, which eventually led to competition with the batarians. When the batarians tried and failed to convince the Council to declare the Skyllian Verge "a zone of batarian interest", they closed their embassy and withdrew from Citadel space. Viewing humans as the cause of their fall from grace, batarians frequently came into conflict with human colonies, especially batarian slavers. Tensions between humans and batarians persist for decades.

The Eden Prime War
“This mission just got a lot more complicated.” — Spoilers for Mass Effect follow.

Humans were caught off-guard by the geth attack on Eden Prime, humanity's most prosperous colony, in 2183. Systems Alliance forces and the legendary Commander Shepard were involved in several operations against geth incursions into Alliance territory. The conflict between the Systems Alliance and geth later became known as the Eden Prime War, and culminated in the Battle of the Citadel, where a massive invasion fleet led by the flagship Sovereign tore through Citadel defenses. With the timely aid of the Alliance's Fifth Fleet, the geth were defeated. Depending on Commander Shepard's actions, the Council is saved and the Systems Alliance granted a Council seat, or the Council perishes and the Alliance forms a new Council. Thanks to their efforts in the Battle of the Citadel, humanity rises to a new level of prominence in the galaxy. -- back story taken from the Mass Effect Wiki

When I first got this game, I couldn't get into it. I didn't have enough sci-fi interest like I used to; but a friend of mine said that it was only $10 on Steam and that I had no reason not to get it since it was so cheap at the time during the Steam sale. So, I went ahead and bought it; at that time, I had just bought a brand new graphics card and power supply to put in my computer so that I could play another awesome game -- Jade Empire. I created a custom female Shepard who has the following characteristics: Spacer, War Hero, and Soldier. Anyways, one of the more interesting subplots in the game (for me) was the romance option. As femShep, I could romance either Kaidan Alenko (human male biotic) or Dr. Liara T'Soni (monogendered - female - alien scientist). I decided to pursue Kaidan; I love how this character shares the same voice actor (Raphael Sbarge) with Carth Onassi in "Knights of the Old Republic."

Unfortunately, there comes a point in the game where you are on a planet (Virmire) and you have to decide which team member you are going to save during a heavy battle -- which means you have to choose who lives or dies. I had to make the decision between my soon-to-be boyfriend (Kaidan) and human soldier Ashley Williams; that's right folks, Ashley Williams is dead in my Mass Effect games. Sorry Ash! I wish there was some special option where I could save both her and Kaidan, but there wasn't. Anyways, I beat Mass Effect 3 earlier this year, and the original ending(s) made no since; thank God that Bioware replaced those endings with the Extended Cut DLC. I'm looking forward to more single player DLC and hopefully new full games; also, I'm buying some of the games that I like on Steam Summer Sale 2012. I bought "Prince of Persia: the Forgotten Sands" and "Sam and Max: the Complete Pack."

Anyways, I'll be back later. I'm sleepy. Goodnight.

Saturday, June 9, 2012


Hello again,

This is going to be a short post because I'm busy doing some stuff. I'm planning on blogging more about the following interests of mine:

  • Video Games
  • The Positive Aspects of Multiculturalism
  • Web Design/Development

I'm still updating my personal web site. I'm currently not 100 percent happy with the way two of my themes ("Marie Antoinette" and "Paris Nord") look; I want to make all of the themes look different, meaning that I don't want all of them to be colorful or monochromatic (too dark or too light). I'm trying to strike a balance in all of the themes where users can pick and choose whichever theme they like the most. Also, I'm working on boosting my programming abilities; currently, I have to figure out why some of my user controls work on my local server, but not on the online server. I've made sure that my coding has the correct credentials. I'm beginning to wonder if maybe my web host just doesn't like having certain user controls; I know for a fact that they don't recommend SMTP (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol). There's one other thing that I'm planning on posting in the near future: a thank you letter to all of the people who have helped shape me and my career goals.

Friday, June 8, 2012


For starters, sorry for the lack of updates to this blog. I've been fairly busy lately. Alright, here are some interesting updates. I got this game (that actually came out in November 2011) called "The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim." I had been hearing so much about this game from friends of mine that I decided to try it out; all this talk about "I used to be an adventurer like you, until I took an arrow in the knee" to AngryJoe talking about helping a talking dog during a quest peaked my interest.

So I got the game and created a Redguard character named Manyara who came from the land of Hammerfell. I decided to make her a mage since I like characters that can cast magic spells; plus one of my friends plays as a mage, too. Originally, I thought this was going to be a very comical game thanks to watching videos by Angry Joe and Two Best Friends , but now I realize that it can be a very dark game with only some instances being comical; I'm probably going to come off sounding like a big baby for this, but there were moments where I got so depressed that I just turned the game off.

For example, while doing a quest dealing with finding a stole flute, I stumbled across a lighthouse where an entire family had been murdered inside; and I, the Dovahkiin (Dragonborn -- aka hero in the game), had to find the source of the murders. It's odd, but I just remembered that it's technically my fault for thinking that this game would be funny/amusing...especially since in the very beginning of the game, you (the player) witness a character getting decapitated in the very first part of the game. There's even a quest where you get to sacrifice a priest to a god named Molag Bal...who's basically Satan; if you complete the quest, you get a special powerful mace. There's also a quest line that allows you to join this group of assassins called "The Dark Brotherhood." They kill people for money no matter how ridiculous the "crime" that the target supposedly committed (e.g. you kill a bard who can't sing, a cook who can't cook, a girl getting married, a mentally ill man who is grieving his sister's death, etc.); although this is just a game, I can't bring myself to playing the part of an evil character -- no matter how "fun" some of my friends say it is.

I also finished the game "Mass Effect 3," which is currently my favorite game of this year. I'll blog more about that later because I feel that this game deserves a post of its own.

Anyways, I've been working more on my online portfolio making changes here and there such as taking away themes, changing background colors, adding more programmable features, etc. I'll be back later with more updates as they come.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Cultures, Languages, Religions

I have always been fascinated with learning about other cultures, languages, and religions ever since I was a child thanks to "Sesame Street." My favorite language of interest was Spanish, but I also was intrigued with the Chinese and Japanese culture. I think what started my interest in Japanese culture was "Big Bird in Japan." I liked the story about the Bamboo Princess and the Japanese song "One, two, three means Ichi, Ni, San." As I got older, I took a strong interest in learning Japanese on my own -- it was very hard since there were no Japanese classes where I lived nor could I find any books on learning the language; I scrambled through Internet articles, tour guide books, and what not in order to be able to continue learning how to read and write in the language. Anime was also a big help; I used to watch anime such as "Sailor Moon," "Dragonball Z," "Gundam Wing," "Paranoia Agent," "Neon Genesis Evangelion," "Full Metal Alchemist," "Ghost in the Shell" (the movie and the series), and a lot more.

Japanese Culture: I got into Japanese culture due to my love for anime. I was watching some anime with English subtitles and began thinking that it would be great if I actually could understand the language without having to read the subtitles; I actually managed to learn hiragana, katakana, and a bit of kanji...I remember some people at my school thinking that I was odd for wanting to learn a foreign language such as Japanese because it is rather difficult to learn; but I loved every second of it. I studied the geisha culture, work environment, school environment, and so forth. I even had Japanese penpals.

Chinese Culture: Chinese culture is another culture that fascinated me. I always liked the mythology such as "The Weaving of a Dream," which is rather a male version of "Cinderella." The video game "Jade Empire" renewed my interest in China...rather mythological China, that is. I shopped on and bought some videos such as "Avatar" and "The Shadow of Empress Wu." There's also a young Chinese woman by the name of Amoura Rose who sparked my interest in wanting to be a Web Designer when I was studying Business in college; she really is a great designer and can use Photoshop very well.

Indian Culture (Not to be confused with Native Americans) and Middle Eastern Culture: After playing "The Prince of Persia: the Sands of Time," I began watching Bollywood movies (thanks to the character Farah) and listening to Middle Eastern music (thanks to the Prince). I accidentally confused Persian culture with Arab culture at the time, however. The first Bollywood movie that I saw was "Kuch Kuch Hota Hai," and my favorite Bollywood actors are Shahrukh Khan and Kajol. My favorite Desi singer is Vasundhara Das. Occasionally, I'll watch "Koffee with Karan," which is a talk show about the actors, actresses, and movies in India. Also, I used to collect bindis and jewelry made in India. As for Arab music, my favorite singers are Amr Diab and Nancy Ajram; I like other singers such as Sherine Ahmad, Ruby, Tamer Hosny, Waed, Mohammed Hamaky, Mohammed Mounir, Elissa, Ranin, and many more.

Religions: I've studied ancient Christianity, Islam, Judaism, and a bit of Buddhism. I don't know much about Buddhism -- I only know of the story of its founder, Siddhartha Gautama. When it comes to religion, I try to understand why people feel the way that they do and how religion helps shape their lives. I also try not to look at people from a bigoted point of view when it comes down to religious beliefs. For example, when 9/11 happened, a lot of Muslims experienced discrimination based on what some extremists did. From my perspective, if a person is going to call themselves Christian and persecute someone who isn't Christian -- he or she should remember the following: "Judge not lest ye be judged by the measure that you judge others." Last I checked, didn't Jesus associate with people such as prostitutes, the poor, and tax collectors in order to teach them the right way to live their lives. As for Islam, yes there are extremists just like there are in all religions; but just because some evil, insane people did terrible things doesn't give anyone the right to label an entire group of people who haven't done anything as bad people.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Whitney Houston - One of My Favorite Childhood Singers

Whitney Houston -- The Voice -- was one of my favorite singers as a child. My favorite songs by her are "I Wanna Dance with Somebody," "How Will I Know," "So Emotional," "I'm Every Woman," and "Heartbreak Hotel." Despite all of the negative press that she got in her life for the past twenty years, I didn't keep up with any of the bad things. I choose to remember her the way that she was during The Bodyguard Era. I really wish she was still alive today and had never went the route that she did; she would have been one of the best singers -- a singer who didn't have to take her clothes off and dance sexually on stage. Her voice proved that she had more talent than most of the so-called female singers out there today.

Rest in Peace, Whitney Elisebeth Houston. You will be missed.