Monday, August 8

Tropicana


This is a collaboration between myself and Alyshells, who provided the linework for this painting. Inspired by ancient summers, I went with something very primitive for the colors. Perhaps it’s a lost medallion from an era long forgotten. Painted in Photoshop in 8 hours.

"Tropicana" - Painting Steps
Level: Beginner


Content, editing, and compositing by Claudia Sutton.
Music composed by Alvin Muolic.

Thursday, July 28

Adventures in the Real World: Go Anywhere, Stay Anywhere

Aaron and I have been trying this out during the summer, and it's been so much fun. We cleaned out our trunk, put some blankets down, and went at it. It's time to see the world... It's calling to us.

I Live in My Car | Travel in Any Vehicle


Cheers and here's to happy, healthy living.
~Claudia

Friday, July 22

Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles

This game means the world to me, and I was so very excited to finally share it with my Truelove. For you see, it's one of the only games that I own a physical copy of (I usually trade them in, borrow them, or have digital copies), and it's traveled around with me ever since it was released back in the winter of 2004. When this game came out, I was completely drawn to it, because everything about it resonated with me. Traveling via caravan to see the world was something that captivates to this day. I long to be out in the world, to experience life, and to share it with my partner. This beautiful, vicarious experience helped me find myself. I knew that I was meant to have an adventurous life: Just me and my soul mate by my side.

The funny thing was that nobody that I knew back then had time to play with me when the game came out. I longed for it so badly that I invited many people to come and play. They made characters, had a bit of fun, but then lost interest or had to move on to other things. I ended up finishing the game all by myself, and buried the memories deep inside because they felt so incomplete. It was like the Universe was pointing me in the right direction, but the time wasn't right because I had yet to meet Aaron.

The years past, and I lost hope in such things. Love and adventures were not meant for me. They were only things of stories. Still, I kept the game, and held on to the dream.

When Aaron and I met years after, I knew it was time: Time to dust off those dreams, and start living. Even our first experience together was just like caravaning! We traveled across America in a huge Penske truck, and at that moment we knew that we were home as long as we were together out in the world somewhere.

We're currently enjoying a traditional life as we prepare for our future of adventures out in the wild world. So in the meantime, while we're getting ready, we had to play Crystal Chronicles.

What's even more surreal is that Aaron had the same experience as I. He was called to the game, but nobody would play, and eventually he moved on. It couldn't have been more perfect for us, and in honor of nostalgia, we started playing in February of this year just like before when the game came out oh so long ago. We spent 63 hours playing, just finished it up this week, and of course we both picked Selkies.

My message to you is this: Even though this is just a video game, it called to us, helped reveal our true selves, and provided a blueprint for an alternative lifestyle. Listen to your inner pilot light, and be who you authentically are. Perhaps Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles isn't that for you, but it's a hell of a great RPG, with beautiful visuals and music that withstand the test of time. Get some people together, and have at it!


So here are my thoughts about the game:

Pros

- This game was good fun to play with others, and the awesome game play, levels, and rewards provided hours of exciting moments. Aaron and I chose to balance our team with our play styles, so he was the black mage and I was the white mage. Also, I took the majority of the strength artifacts, and he took the defense and magic ones. It worked out pretty good, and it was fun to stick with the roles.

- It's been over a decade since I'd played this game, so my memories surprised me. Some things were vividly etched into my mind, but most of the game was like new (it's ironic that the game was about memories). That's okay though, because this playthrough was way more important to me this time around.

- We played it on the Wii, and it worked out great. The Game Boy Advances worked fine, it ran smoothly, and it looked really nice. I couldn't have been happier.

- I absolutely loved the little stories, narration, and written script of the location names at the beginning of each level. It helped set the tone, and provided a wonderfully old-world feel to the game.

- It was fun to try to figure out the names of the areas on the map. Aaron was the one that first noticed that it was a cipher, and we did figure out most of them by the end.

- The music in this game was by far one of my favorite soundtracks of all time. The ancient instruments were so alluring, and they're one of the main reasons that this world seemed so alive.

- Collecting magicite for spells in the levels was exciting, because one never knew which ones might be found. It made for some pretty compelling, and at times, experimental casting. Even the colors of the orbs themselves seemed non-traditional, which was a nice change of pace.

- Carrying the chalice around for protection was a clever way to keep the team together. Its ever-changing ring of light (the color depended on the element being used) provided the realm with even more beauty, and I loved being the one that kept it safe. Over time it became my duty to hold it, and Aaron collected the treasures that were found along the way.

- This time around we found all of the Mog Stamps, and played each level of the mini game. It was a fun way to stretch out the content a bit.

- The Moogles in this game were the cutest ever, because they're just little floppy fuzz balls! They're my favorite design for sure from any Final Fantasy game.

- Speaking of cuteness, the cows were so ridiculously adorable that it's not possible to hold back a smile when they're on screen. We called them bearded moo-pigs. Yes, that's right, because the name says it all!

- Amidatty was a delightful character, and we truly appreciated the deeper meaning to the bannock metaphor: Contemplating the world around us is always a good thing.

-  Finding the little Easter eggs throughout the game was quite fun, because there was no hand holding at all. It actually felt a little old school, like real exploration, and it was neat to figure out parts of the story on our own.

- At the end of the game we got all of our questions right! I was surprised by that too, because some of them were really hard to remember. Hurray for having a good memory!


Cons

- It does seem that a lot of video games these days are about murdering everything that moves, and it would have been nice to not kill the monsters. The story definitely allows for other creative alternatives. Perhaps instead of killing them, players could have purified them from the miasma.

- Red Vines. Yup, Red Vines... When I played this game before, I ate a ton of Red Vines, like by the bucket full. Alas, I was unable to help myself once again, and somehow they found their way into the house. Not to worry though, we fasted and detoxed on raw food afterward, so all is well in the world again.

- I really wish that we could have gone into more interiors. It would have been so cool, and helped to immerse the player into the world a bit more.

- Inventory sorting was not an option in this game, which was annoying at times. It is somewhat automated, and it took a bit to get used to.

- One could not drop weapons to share with others, which was quite unfortunate because we could have traded things. Selling equipment for gil was not an option either. They had to be destroyed.

- Equipment stats weren't visible in the inventory menus, so one could only view them while crafting or if the item was equipped. It was a little thing, but it would have been nice to have.

-  I wish that there were more levels! It is such a fun game that I wanted more content, and even though we didn't get all of the artifacts we really did milk it for more time.


Wow. I'm so happy that I've finally had my Crystal Chronicles experience. I had been waiting for so long. Again, it's a brilliant game, and I highly recommend it. It's one of my all-time favorites.

Happy gaming,
~Claudia

Wednesday, July 20

ARRR! There Be Pirate Penguins About!

'Tis swashbuckling season.

Perhaps some of you remember these fine fellows. I didn't create this brilliant masterpiece of classic art, but simply wish to spread zee good cheer. They always make me feel like escapin' to the Caribbean around this time of year. There will be rum for all of course, so what are ye waiting for, let's set sail!

Grrr-Argh!
☠ Poppet Claudia

Friday, July 15

Only Lover's Detroit

Adam: "And this is the famous Michigan Theater. They built it
back in the 1920's. A huge sum of money. It's built, ironically, on
the exact same site as Henry Ford made his very first prototype.
They used to be able to seat over 4,000 people in here."
Eve: "It's fantastic. For what? For concerts?"
Adam: "Concerts and as a movie house. Can you imagine?
Mirrors used to reflect the chandeliers. And now, a car park...."
- Adam (Tom Hiddleston) and Eve (Tilda Swinton), Only Lovers Left Alive


 Photos by Carin Sutton. Photo editing by me.
 
Aaron and I spontaneously decided to venture around Detroit with my younger sister Carin, because we wanted to see sights from one of our favorite films, Only Lovers Left Alive. Being that the film was only shot four years ago, the city hadn't changed much, and it meant the world to us to see these locations for ourselves before they were lost to time.

It was magical, and we had no idea that Carin had snapped a few pictures on her phone when we were in the Michigan Building car park. We just wanted to be there, to breathe in these places. Words cannot describe it. We also went to see the Fox Theatre, and Adam's old mansion on Alfred Street.

How lovely.
~Claudia

Thursday, June 9

Observations: Intellectualism

Where humanity has trodden deepest with its instruments and rules, and where intellectualism has taken the strongest of footholds; arrogant authority is the proudest banner, the loudest anthem, and the most delusional of uniforms.

The illusion is brittle, resembling a cobweb and possessing minimal structural integrity. The interdependency of each junction enables one revelation to seed the successive disclosure of the entire self-perpetuating lattice.

The laws of Nature lead all without bias; the laws of society serve their authors without relent. Changing the game comes only to those who are willing to transcend the rules. The eyes have been blinded, but the Eye will bring understanding.
- Aaron -

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