Big News

So now for the big news:

New job, I’m going to be working on rockets! I’ll be back to the Monday-Friday schedule, commuting long distance, working 9 hours a day. It’s big money though and it’s in a field I totally love. I’m excited for it.

With that out of the way, what else is going on this week?

Working on finishing up some anime. I’m on the last episode of Kaguya-Sama Love is War. I also want to finish up a few other series: Rising of Shield Hero and Reincarnation of a Slime this weekend.

Some big figure purchases to celebrate. I’ll need to work on finding some space in my room to put this all. Still, here’s my latest purchase:

Bioshock is one of my favorite games, and getting Elizabeth in a torn outfit looks really kick-ass. It was expensive, but it’s well worth it.

Haven’t done much piano practice this week, but I’m going to try to force myself to play later today.

Also have to figure out something about gaming. I’m itching to play Fire Emblem this week or something like it. Will try to work that out when I can.

I just need to figure out an evening schedule and try to stick to it if I can. Otherwise I’m tempted to crash, close my eyes, and just sleep the rest of my day away.

Great Changes Ahead

Well, my biggest life change in the last three years just happened yesterday. I can’t make any announcements just yet, but let’s just say it involves…rocket ships. I’ll go into more detail later this week.

With the stress and time involved with my latest endeavor, I haven’t spent too much time in gaming and music practice. Still, with that said, here’s a glimpse of what I’ve been doing the last week, and what my plan is for the rest of the week.

One thing I have practiced a lot on is Japanese. I’m bouncing back and forth between Duolingo and Lingodeer. Both are programs which teach Japanese in really different ways. I’m starting from the very beginning as a review. It’s a bit tedious on Duolingo, but Lingodeer I feel like I’m actually learning something new. I’ll probably post something about this more thoroughly in a separate article.

With gaming, not much happened. I played Yakuza Kiwami for a few hours, but that’s the only game I’ve touched in the last week.

This week however, I plan on playing Planet Zoo. It reminds me a bit of Zoo Tycoon, which was a really fun game back in the early 2000s. Plus Frontier’s recent games, Jurassic World Evolution and Planet Coaster have solidified this company as a good creator of strategy games.

I also plan on playing Death Stranding when it comes out on Friday. Some mixed reviews on it, but I want to make the judgement for myself whether it’s good or not.

American Truck Simulator also has a new Utah expansion coming out this Thursday. I haven’t played much ATS since the Washington expansion came out, but Utah is a beautiful state, and driving through it sounds like a treat. Now if only I could drive through Idaho to get to Utah…*hints to SCS Software?*

With TV, I’ve been watching The Morning Show from Apple TV+. It’s a really engaging show. I’m also watching The Watchmen and American Horror Story Season 2. Lastly, I’m watching The Good Place to satisfy my comedy cravings…really good show so far.

That’s about it for this week. I hope to most more later this week about the good news :).

What’s Up This Week?

Not too much going on this week. Though in my personal life, what happens this week may ultimately decide what happens in the chapter in my life. That’s huge, so understandably, there is a lot of anxiety.

With everything else. Here’s what’s going on:

Playing Yakuza Kiwami. I love the Yakuza games, and it’s nice to go back to the beginning where it all started. It’s just a good linear game with a fantastic story. I’m putting FFX on hold since I’ve barely played it at all last week.

Watching American Horror Story – Season 1. Been watching this off and on the last few weeks. I’m aiming to finish this season today, hopefully. There are only about 4 more episodes left.

Practicing Piano. I started going off on my own last week by working on a few difficult songs. That has put me back a bit as far as my readings and lessons go though…so I need to work on that this week.

Read One Piece. This is a mammoth undertaking that will take me weeks, if not months to do. I have a Shounen Jump subscription though, so I don’t have to put in hundreds of dollars to get current, fortunately.

Practice Japanese. Going back into this. Working back and forth between Duolingo and Lingodeer, though I am preferring the latter.

This week I am going to need some sharp focus if I want to tackle these three tasks. There are a few other tasks I’d like to put in as well, but these are the big ones.

Back to the PC

It has been a bit difficult the last few months trying to figure out the system of choice for gaming. Do I pick the PS4 Pro for the comfy couch, amazing soundbar, and 55″ 4k HDR TV? Do I pick the Switch for the sweet handheld experience? Or do I pick the PC for the ultimate experience?

Up until recently, it’s been the PS4, and I’ve actually had to rebuy a few games (and play them from the beginning again…ughh) because I already had them on Steam. Honestly, most of the time I just prefer to chill on the couch and play games…and not sit on a desk, which I already do 40 hours a week.

Well lately, things have changed. Steamlink is available on Apple TV and iPad, and I couldn’t be happier. With my new home mesh network I’m now able to play all my PC games on the TV in 1080p quality. Additionally, Remote Play for PS4 with Dual Shock support is also available so I’m now able to play my PS4 games on my iPad or my PC. I also have a Switch docking station connected to my PC so I can play Switch games on my desk as well. It’s the best of all worlds.

Other than that, it’s been a rainy week in Seattle. Some big positive changes are going in life that I’d prefer not to talk about in a public space…at least not yet.

I haven’t done a lot of piano practice as I should. The difficulty lies in the type of music I can play, and how I should practice. I’m focusing primarily on the music the teacher gives me (which is just one or two easy songs), so after I “master” those songs, there’s not a whole lot for me to go off of. So I’m doing my own thing, which is a bit difficult as I don’t have the right guidance for that.

The difficulty lies in matching the music to my level. There are three big programs out there for learning: Flowkey, Simply Piano, and Playground Sessions. They all have their pros and cons. Flowkey has a nice selection of music, but it’s very basic as far as teaching how to play it. Before you know it, you’re thrown into some really complicated songs and no idea how to play them. Simply Piano is really good, but can sometimes be too forgiving when I make mistakes. Playground Sessions is okay, but it’s not forgiving at all with mistakes, and it lacks…something?

So I’m just going to stick with my books and teacher for the moment. Just let it be I suppose.

Music Progress

It’s been about two weeks since I started playing piano again. Where am I at?

I’m pretty much over trying to learn through apps and software. It can be done, but I feel can only go so far with it. I decided to get formal training and I’ll be taking lessons for half an hour a week, starting tonight!

In the meantime, this weekend I’ve been tinkering with the more popular iPad app, SimplyPiano. It’s game-like, but I like its training structure over other apps and software. I find as a supplementary tool, it’ll be nice to work with along the side of my actual formal training.

As cheesy as it sounds, it feels like this is a new stage in my life. I think with the amount of music I listen to each day, moving towards actually making music seems like a good positive step in the right direction. Both of my doctors really suggest it as far as getting ahead of my anxiety and depression issues I’ve had on and off for the last few years.

Ch…Ch…Changes

Since my last update, I finally purchased a piano.

To put in perspective, why did I get a piano when I already have a guitar? Well, I’ve always been a big fan of piano. My grandmother is a pianist and always bragged how I had pianist fingers. I simply love it, and I listen to a lot of piano music daily and watch pianist streamers on Twitch/YouTube.

In fact, I originally purchased a piano about 6 years ago during deployment. It was a small portable keyboard, but it was really limited to what it could do (4-note polyphony) and only went up to two octaves. It honestly was more for synthesized/electronic music than it was for actual piano playing. I ended up trading it for my electric guitar for the next deployment (though in retrospect an acoustic would have been a better choice).

The idea was that I’d practice guitar, and when I get my own bigger place, then I’d get myself an 88-key digital piano. That never happened. I wasn’t playing guitar, so why would I buy a piano, again? Even if I could, I had no space in my house for one.

So going back into guitar, I’m finding myself asking two questions: Can I learn two instruments at once; can I find a spot for a digital piano?

Learning two instruments at once shouldn’t be an issue. It’s more about motivation and time. Both of which I have, it simply means I need to cut back on anime/gaming time. Space, however is another issue. I could squeeze it into my room, but it would be rather uncomfortable.

Anyways after a few weeks of thinking things over and rearranging the house, I cleared away some old stuff around the house to put my piano and acoustic guitar in a nice spot.

As far as learning, however, that’s a bigger issue.

With guitar, I’m satisfied with where I’m at in learning. Justin Guitar is a great free online resource that I’ve been utilizing. Guitar Tricks is another good pay resource, though I’m not a big fan of the progression so far. I’m at six chords right now and trying to utilize at least 15 minutes daily to work on transitions.

Unfortunately, there aren’t many similar resources online for Piano. For the iPad there are a lot of “games” that look like educational tools such as Simply Piano and Yousician, but they are quite costly and I doubt I could learn something as complex as piano through a simple format such as that. There’s also Flowkey, which is affiliated with Yamaha; the problem is that the training is a bunch of videos of some guy’s hands, I can’t print out sheet music, and it feels like I’m not progressing far as I’m just reciting Jingle Bells three times in a row with no consequence if I don’t play it perfectly.

On Mac, there is a program that I’m using called Playground Sessions which seems pretty legit. I’ve clocked in about 8 hours and learned more than any other resource so far…though I feel like I’m missing something? Maybe it’s because I’m more focused on looking at the finger positions than I am on the notes of the sheet music.

I could turn off finger numbering, which solves that problem. But I still feel like my progress is moving a bit too fast.

I’m considering taking formal lessons. Not sure who to talk to, where to go, or what level they will put me at. I’m just afraid of going from playing Game of Thrones with two hands back to Twinkle Twinkle on one hand.

So a lot of decisions to be made.

Back to Normality

This entire week, my focus has been entirely on guitar practice. I’m getting better at A, D, and E chords. Now on to Am, Dm, and Em. I struggle most with Dm as it requires a bit of a stretch, so that’s going to take me a few weeks to get used to.

Finally ordered Astral Chain. I didn’t purchase it earlier simply because I wasn’t in the mood. But with my fingers sore from practicing, it’s a good time to get into it. With that said, gaming is still taking a backseat. My focus is entirely on practicing guitar when I get the opportunity (i.e. not when my neighbor is here).

Sports-wise, I’m all about Formula 1 this week. Great race this morning that I’m looking forward to watching the whole race later on today.

Last week I put up my steering wheel as I desperately need space in my room. Yet lately I’ve been really in the mood to play iRacing with my VR setup. Not sure how that’s going to work. Probably best to keep it up for now as I’m not in the position to pay for circuits, a monthly fee, and additional cars to qualify for certain races.

Picked up some expansions for the War of the Ring board game. One of those expansions went out of print and was selling for $300 on eBay. Finally went back into print for $30 and I snagged it almost immediately. I’ll be setting that game up later today.

Anyway, those are my thoughts for today. Probably will go practice after this post. 🙂